Launceston ‘perfect’ for flight school: Ex-Qantas captain

ACADEMY: Bids for the new Qantas Pilot Academy will be shortlisted in June. Picture: Phillip Biggs
ACADEMY: Bids for the new Qantas Pilot Academy will be shortlisted in June. Picture: Phillip Biggs

A former Qantas training captain has labelled Launceston the perfect location for a regional pilot academy.

Launceston is engaged in a bidto bring Qantas’ new $20 million regional pilot academy to the city, in the face of competition from cities such as Devonport, Tamworth and Mackay. 

Steve Murray, who trained pilots at the national carrier for 21 years, said Launceston would be a better location than Devonport for the new school.

He said there were three primary reasons why Launceston would be a perfect choice for the training facility.

“The fact is that the lack of air traffic around Launceston is ideal and the idea of [training pilots] and not having to worry about a lot of planes coming and going is perfect,” he said.

“The other thing is the weather.

“We don’t get bad flying weather, because of the mountains. 

“There are also really good facilities and training equipment [at Launceston Airport], like the instrument landing system that Devonport does not have.”

Qantas announced in February it would open a new pilot school, due to the global pilot shortage, which would train between 100 and 500 new pilots a year. 

The state government has not yet backed Launceston’s or Devonport’s push for the school. 

“I suspect that the state government won’t make a final decision on which proposal to support until proper due diligence is done on their behalf,” Launceston Chamber of Commerce president Tim Holder said.