States bidding for Qantas Pilot Academy await shortlist

The competition is heating up for a $20 million pilot school, which will be built near a regional Australian airport.

Since the announcement in February, cities and towns across the country have been promoting their regions in an effort to land the academy, which would train hundreds of pilots per year.

Joining the rest of the country in the bidding battle is Launceston and Devonport.

Launceston Airport General Manager Paul Hodgen said he believed the North’s bid fulfilled “some of the important technical aspects” within the selection criteria.

“There is the presence of a manned control tower, a range of instrument approaches available for training and an instrument landing system,” he said.

“There’s also the education offering around the University of Tasmania and the Australian Maritime College, both in terms of accommodation and the delivery of educational content.”

If the facility were to be developed in Launceston, Mr Hodgen said there was also land available near the airport for new accommodation infrastructure to be built.

The Tasmanian government this week confirmed it had submitted a bid for the school, promoting both the North and North-West as options.

Devonport Chamber of Commerce president Stacey Sheehan said the joint-bid was about promoting Tasmania.

“Some of the mainland states have put forward every airport in their state and said to Qantas take your pick,” she said.

“All we wanted from the Devonport side was to participate in the bidding process and include all things Devonport can offer in the bid so we are pleased with the result.”

Braddon Labor candidate Justine Keay said the bid should “benefit the state as a whole”. 

“What we don’t want is parochialism between one airport and the other,” she said. 

Qantas is expected to release a shortlist of seven locations for its new pilot academy by the end of the month.