Qantas has bypassed Bundy for its pilot academy.
Qantas has bypassed Bundy for its pilot academy. Mike Richards GLA231213QANT

Bundy not on Qantas' radar: Region bypassed for pilot school

QANTAS has shortlisted nine regional cities, two in Queensland, as potential homes for its new pilot academy.

Unfortunately, Bundaberg, which had put in a joint submission with Fraser Coast Council, has missed out.

The airline carrier says more than 60 cities around Australia applied to host a training facility that Qantas will establish in response to a global need for 640,000 new pilots over the next 20 years.

Qantas says it will now meet with representatives of all nine cities over the next few weeks and settle on a site by the third quarter of the current year.

Qantas pilot academy boss Wes Nobelius says wider industry demand - and level of support from state and territory governments - was so strong that a second academy could be on the cards.

"We think there could be enough demand from the broader industry for us to train up to 500 pilots a year," Mr Nobelius said.

"To do that we're likely to need two separate academies because of the practical realities of trying to do that much training in a single location."

More than 14,000 aspiring pilots have registered their interest in the academy in the four months since it was announced by Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

Criteria for potential locations included having uncongested airspace, a certain number of clear weather days per year, and infrastructure to support and accommodate up to 100 students in the first year of operation.

Dubbo, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga are the NSW cities on the list, with Queensland the next best represented through Mackay and Toowoomba.

Alice Springs, Bendigo, Launceston and Busselton in WA are the other venues.

"Training on this scale represents a commercial opportunity for Qantas but it's also about contributing to a talent pipeline that we rely on for more senior pilots down the track," Mr Nobelius said.

Last week the NewsMail reported on concerns raised by members of the Fraser Coast business community who had questions about the joint submissions.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was important the region presented a united front.

See Monday's paper for more local reaction on this issue.


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