Wagga set to place 'strong bid' for Qantas Group Pilot Academy

Wheels are in motion to bring a a fresh pilot training academy to the city, according to Wagga council. 

It follows a Qantas Group announcement it would launch a flight school, somewhere in regional Australia as soon as next year. 

The large institution would be capable of training hundreds of pilots every year and Wagga wants it here. 

Qantas last week launched a formal bidding process, inviting regional cities and state governments to coordinate proposals, outlining how their location addressed the academy’s criteria. 

The company said it would be looking to base its school at a regional centre with an established airfield and access to non-congested airspace. 

The academy would also require the infrastructure to home up to 100 students in the first year of operation.

This number could potentially grow to up to 500 students a year.

Wagga councillors in February said council would seriously consider placing an official bid on behalf of the city. 

General manager Peter Thompson on Saturday confirmed a formal proposal would be submitted before the June 8 deadline. 

“(Council members have) discussed this informally and put in an expression of interest to the NSW State Government,” Mr Thompson said. 

“That was the first stage of the process.”

Mr Thompson said further discussions were also underway with the Deputy Prime Minister and senior representatives of other Wagga institutions to coordinate a proposal.

“I’m optimistic we will make a very strong bid,” he said.

“Having it here will give Wagga another push towards being a really livable place, offering a really great lifestyle.

“That’s why we chase these things so hard.”

Mr Thompson said he felt there was no question the academy should be in Wagga.

He said being a well established educational community was one of its leading features, as it was already host to the largest inland TAFE NSW, a university, army and RAAF training bases and Regional Express commercial pilot training academy.

Councillor Rod Kendall agreed with the move and believed it would be supported 100 per cent across the board. 

He said an additional pilot school would bringing the promise of further jobs, industry recognition and an economic boost to the city.

It comes ten years after Regional Express airlines launched its cadet program at the council owned site. 

With bids for the Qantas pilot academy taking flight across the country, Mr Kendall said Wagga would prove it was the best choice for the location.

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