A new multi-million dollar flying school could be set up in Tasmania if a bid by the state government is successful.
Premier Will Hodgman confirmed submissions had been made in an effort to land the Qantas Group Pilot Academy, which would train hundreds of pilots each year.
Campaigning on behalf of both Launceston and Devonport airports, Mr Hodgman said Tasmania was in the “strongest possible position in the competitive process”.
“We are confident that our bid will not only meet the specifications that Qantas is seeking, but also offer other factors that set us apart from other Australian locations,” he said.
“North and North-West Tasmania offer outstanding aeronautical infrastructure, educational capabilities, and vibrant regional cities for student pilots, staff and their families to call home.”
Senator Steve Martin previously advocated for Devonport Airport to be the home of the $20 million academy, but now supports a joint bid between the North and North-West.
“A combined bid for the Qantas Group Pilot Academy will strengthen Tasmania’s chances of securing the economic and social benefits that would flow statewide from having cadets and support staff based in the state,” he said.
“Launceston and Devonport have the infrastructure, ideal flight conditions and, most importantly, the endeavour that addresses the requirements Qantas is seeking for its academy.”
Last month, Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten threw his support behind the idea of a pilot academy for the region.
“We have the necessary infrastructure, links to educational institutes like the University of Tasmania, and can offer prospective students an envious lifestyle standard,” Alderman van Zetten said.
The pilot academy is expected to open its doors to students in 2019, with plans to train about 100 pilots a year. It is expected demand will grow and the facility could cater for up to 500 students each year.
When plans for the new academy were announced in February, Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said “the world will need about 640,000 more pilots in the next 20 years”.