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Qantas Pilot Academy sees 40% drop in applications

written by Adam Thorn | March 23, 2021

Qantas’ Pilot Academy in Toowoomba has revealed that application numbers have dropped 40 per cent post-COVID.

The reduction has coincided with the school reducing its capacity, and will now accept just 20 students when the next round of training begins.

It comes despite the airline itself estimating nearly 790,000 more pilots will be required globally over the next two decades with around one-third of them in the APAC region.

Chief operating officer Pierre Steyn told the ABC the facility had to restructure to survive.


“We’ve continued training, but not to the levels that we were supposed to do pre-COVID,” Steyn said. “You control the cost to make sure the academy can survive during times when the student numbers and revenue is down.”

The institution, run in conjunction with FTA, has pledged to employ all future instructors from its ranks of ex-students, as many struggle through the pandemic.

Qantas has also kept its plans for another site in the Garden City on hold.

Earlier this month, a survey of 900 workers in the aviation industry revealed just one in ten were back to full hours.

The investigation, by the TWU, also said one in four workers remain stood down from their jobs and more than 60 per cent of those made redundant had 10 years-plus experience.

The TWU’s survey follows a similar report by the Australian Services Union (ASU), which found 43 per cent of respondents had accessed their super, 41 per cent deferred school fees and other expenses and 50 per cent are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent.

Last week, it emerged the government’s new wage subsidy for those working in international aviation will pay employees $500 per week – the same rate as JobKeeper.

The payment is set to apply to pilots and other crew and will last until international borders reopen, which is currently planned for the end of October.

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Comments (3)

  • QF Instructor


    There was an oversupply of qualified and experienced pilots prior to COVID. The graduates of the academy are similar quality to those already graduating from other (QFPP) schools and available in the wider industry. Feeding recently graduated students straight into instructing roles is also perpetuation of the status quo. The whole comcept seems to be a cynical attempt to dilute the pilot workforce and reduce pay and conditions. At the time of writing not a single graduate was employed as a pilot.

  • Norman


    Becoming a pilot is no longer a career. Watch The Joyce led QF create war selecting 320s for the Qf network and try to bring Jetstar pilots wages across to the mainline.

  • Rohit


    Ah yeh who the hell is going to invest in something that has no future! That too for a fully unsponsored program

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