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Qantas’ first pilot hires since COVID to be from its academy

written by Hannah Dowling | April 20, 2021

A Qantas De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300, VH-TQM, as shot by Seth Jaworski.

Qantas’ first pilot hires since the start of the COVID pandemic are to come from its own academy.

According to a job advertisement posted recently, the airline is offering its Wellcamp-based pilot academy alumni the opportunity to apply for first officer positions on turboprop Dash 8 aircraft operated by its regional subsidiary brand, QantasLink.

“As we continue to develop our pilot community, we are excited to commence the first phase of the selection process for Qantas Group Pilot Academy graduated students,” Qantas said in the posting.

The new-hires will jump aboard as Qantas eyes a return to 90 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic capacity by Q4 FY21, while its budget subsidiary Jetstar simultaneously looks to “exceed 100 per cent” of pre-COVID levels due to “strong leisure demand”.

Qantas intends to see its domestic capacity increase again in FY22, with Jetstar aiming to hit 120 per cent of 2019 capacity levels, and Qantas 107 per cent.


The job listing is another show of commitment on behalf of Qantas and flight training provider FTA, which jointly run the academy, to the future employment of recent academy graduates.

In fact, FTA recently pledged to employ its graduates, who were at the time not seeing any employment opportunities at Qantas due to COVID, as future flight instructors at the academy.

The academy welcomed its first course of students in January 2020, and has since seen the completion and graduation of students in both its first and second courses.

While the academy has the capacity to train up to 250 pilots per year, the coronavirus pandemic has seen the company take a hit.

The news comes following recent revelations that the Toowoomba-based pilot academy had seen a 40 per cent drop in application numbers amid the pandemic.

The academy’s chief operating officer, Pierre Steyn, said that 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 academy is currently looking to accept 20 students into its next course intake.

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Comments (2)

  • Steve A


    Just wondering why Australian taxpayers need to be paying for Qantas to have International pilots sitting around waiting and waiting to be needed when Qantas is employing new pilots?
    I realize that they are on a different level from newbies on the Q400, but if Qantas is doing this well, then Qantas should be left to pay its own way.
    I bet that taxpayers won’t be reimbursed, but once profits roll in again, Qantas management will once again be the big winners.

    • James


      So what’s your solution Steve?

      Re train a bunch of international pilots onto it (some of whom have never flown a Dash or not for a significant amount of time), only to have them go back to the jets where they will be required? How do you think the pay situation would work? Draft up a few dodgy contracts? That’s an expensive solution.

      Or, put to work the results of these academy’s with people with zero multi command and subsequently will require significant time on the Dash, thereby almost guaranteed some longevity out of the crew.

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