The Asia-Pacific region needs 28 new pilots a day and Wellcamp Airport will help supply them.
The Asia-Pacific region needs 28 new pilots a day and Wellcamp Airport will help supply them. GREG WOOD

Aviation school to open at Wellcamp Airport

AVIATION students from all over the world will soon be able to complete their professional pilot training on the Darling Downs after Toowoomba's Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport signed an exclusive agreement with the Airline Academy of Australia.

The agreement includes collaboration with the University of Southern Queensland which will provide aspiring international aviators with undergraduate and post-graduate training in conjunction with the academy's practical program.

The airport's Wellcamp Aviation Education Precinct will provide professional pilot and aircraft maintenance engineering training and also permanently house light aircraft alongside a world-class team of experienced instructors.

Academy director and chief commercial officer Craig Duncan said the academy had fulfilled the industry's growing needs for more than 100 years, making it the longest-serving of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

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"Given our history in providing aviation employment pathways for students in regional areas, it was a natural progression to open a campus at Australia's first public airport in almost 50 years," Mr Duncan said.

The 2014 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook predicts that 533,000 new commercial airline pilots and 584,000 new maintenance technicians will be needed to fly and maintain the world's fleet over the next 20 years, giving the academy and the Wagners family the rare opportunity to work together to capitalise on a burgeoning industry.

Wagners' chairman John Wagner said Queensland's unrivalled standards in training, excellent weather patterns and favourable typography would be on show to the world.

"This agreement, which coincides with other lucrative opportunities we have in the pipeline due to Australia's new free-trade agreement with China, will put Toowoomba and the Darling Downs on the map - both nationally and internationally," Mr Wagner said.

"We are extremely excited about the agreement which we see as a major coup for the region that will generate significant revenue, employment opportunities and foster exciting new careers for people from all over the world," he said.

University of Southern Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said that the opportunity to partner with the academy would bring an exciting new dimension to the range of programs that USQ offered.

"While many associate aviation with pilot training, there are a number of other careers from aircraft maintenance engineering, logistics, electronics, navigation and communication systems that USQ will consider offering in line with student demand," he said.


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