Airport boss says Gladstone is perfectly suited for Qantas
NEWLY appointed Gladstone Airport Corporation chief executive officer Colin Fort believes Gladstone is well positioned to snare the lucrative Qantas Pilot Academy.
The $20million facility would be launched in 2019 with an initial intake of 100 pilots and increasing to 500 a year once fully established.
Mr Fort said the wheels were firmly in motion for Gladstone's bid, which has been backed by all levels of government.
"We've made a submission to the Request For Information that Qantas put out a few weeks ago and there's fairly tight deadlines around that - it seems they want to move quickly on establishing it," he said.
"This will be quite a coup for Gladstone if we get this. This is an enormous project that will have significant impacts on the region if it comes off.
"We have made the submission, as you can imagine this is Australia-wide and there's been over 40 airports who have shown an interest in it."
Mr Fort was confident Gladstone Airport had all the prerequisites Qantas wanted.
"I won't use hyperbole. I hear from other airports who say they're a front runner, but I think we have what they're after: geographically where we are positioned, the type of navigational systems we've got far exceed a lot of other regional airports and we've got a full fire-fighting service," he said.
"Once Qantas decides who gets it it's a very quick process - within 12 months they want to get something going - and Gladstone has shown it is more than capable of undertaking big projects like this and getting it done quickly.
"This would be one of the big economic drivers in area moving forward if it came off.
"All the trainers and students would be living within the community so the wider economics that would flow through would be quite significant and the multipliers across the region would be huge."