Qantas has announced the official opening of its newest Flight Training Centre in Brisbane and will soon begin training up to 900 pilots per year across the centre’s four state-of-the-art simulators.
Qantas announced in February 2021 that it would build the new centre, with support from the Queensland government, marking its third facility on the east coast.
The Brisbane centre will house Boeing 787, 767 and 737 simulators, as well as Dash 8 Q400 simulators, which have been relocated from its temporarily decommissioned Sydney training facility.
The Sydney training centre is set to be knocked down to make way for a major roads project, however, is planned to return to operations in 2023.
Qantas said its new Brisbane facility will provide recurring training for its over 500 Queensland-based pilots, saving costs on transport and accommodation, as well as pilots from interstate.
The facility will also have its assets available to train pilots from other airlines throughout the Asia-Pacific, as a new means of revenue for the business amid its post-COVID recovery.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the facility would improve the efficiency of the airline’s flight training function and added to Qantas’ sizeable footprint in Queensland.
“Training is a critical part of our business, and the new Brisbane Simulator Facility will play a key role in helping us to maintain the highest standards of pilot skill and experience,” he said.
“Qantas’ very first flying school was set up in 1927 in a tin shed at Eagle Farm, so we’ve clearly come a long way since then. Having simulators based in Brisbane is great news for our Queensland-based pilots and is a clear vote of confidence in the long-term future of aviation in this country despite the challenges we’ve faced recently.”
Joyce said the new facility complements its Pilot Training Academy, based at Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, and added that graduates who have secured pilot positions with QantasLink will complete the simulator phase of their training in the new Brisbane training centre.
“We’d like to thank the Queensland government for its support in making this new facility possible, which means more jobs based in Queensland and an ongoing economic boost for the state,” he added.
The training facility will be staffed by 33 team members including 18 new roles for highly skilled simulator instructors, simulator technicians and support staff, Qantas said.
Speaking of the announcement, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said: “The Q in Qantas proudly stands for Queensland, as it has for more than 100 years since the company was founded in Winton in 1920.
“The industry has been impacted severely over the last couple of years by COVID-19, but as we unite and recover, it’s technology and facilities like this which will play a critical role in our economic recovery.
“This suite of flight training simulators reinforces Queensland’s pre-eminence as a destination of choice for the aerospace and aviation support industries.”
Construction commenced in March 2021 and the four simulators and flight training device are now active 24 hours a day, with up to 50 pilots and trainers using the centre each day.
The Brisbane centre was initially scheduled to be up and running by November 2021, however faced a number of delays due to COVID-19.
Qantas also revealed in February that its Melbourne training facility would be expanded, to temporarily house an additional four simulators from the Sydney site, including 787, Airbus A330 and Dash Q300s.
The airline will work together with the NSW government to rebuild a Sydney flight training centre to be operational by 2023, with at least four simulators to be stationed in Sydney.
“By having Flight Training Centres in all three eastern states where the majority of our crew reside, we can reduce costs by millions of dollars a year through training them in their home base,” Qantas Group executive John Gissing said when the Brisbane facility was first announced.
“We’d like to thank the state governments for their support and unlocking the broader economic benefits that these training centres have.”