23rd Apr 2019 5:00 AM
THE Qantas Pilot Academy at Wellcamp Airport could host 840 students a year within eight years if all stages of the project materialise.
The development application submitted to the Toowoomba Regional Council last week by Precinct Urban Planning, on behalf of Wagner Corporation, revealed the school could have a much larger number of students than the 250 places Qantas announced last year.
The academy will be built on 94.53 hectares of land adjacent to the Wellcamp Airport runway, on the opposite side to the terminal building.
Stage one will see the construction of an air training facility, hangar complex, aircraft parking area and an accommodation village including accommodation for 84 students and the initial recreation facility, gym and outdoor courts.
This would further expand to include accommodation for 192 extra students, 276 total, during stage two of the project.
Plans for the Qantas Pilot Training Academy at Wellcamp Airport. Tobi Loftus
The air training facility will include classrooms, briefing rooms, flight simulator room, staff rooms, offices and amenities. The duplex-style accommodation buildings will comprise of units containing six bedrooms per unit, a kitchen, two bathrooms per unit and a laundry.
The hangar will be adjacent to the runway of the airport with access to the tarmac via a sealed taxiway.
The Wagners are seeking an extended approval period of eight years to complete stage three to seven of the project, which would see accommodation facilities for 840 students, extensions to the air training facility, a second recreation centre and a ground training facility.
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said he was excited to hear the development application had been submitted to the council.
"This is a project, not only of regional significance, but one of state and national significance," Cr Antonio said.
they will definitely be looking for instructors @mnewbery
Building products group Wagners will take a $10 million hit to its earnings after calling in the lawyers on its biggest cement customer and launching action in the Queensland Supreme Court over a pricing dispute.
Wagners shares slumped last month after it said its key cement buyer, construction giant Boral, was trying to force down its contract prices because it had been offered cheaper prices by an unnamed competitor — believed to be Cement Australia, a 50-50 joint venture between Swiss giant Holcim and HeidelbergCement’s Hanson.
The company suspended deliveries to Boral, which takes about 40 per cent of Wagners cement, while it disputed the bona fides of the rival offer through dispute resolution procedures in its contract.
Wagner admitted last night that that process had failed, in a disclosure released after the close of the market, saying it would seek a ruling on the contractual stoush through the courts.
It stripped $10m from its annual earnings forecast due to the dispute, saying it now expected its profit before tax and interest would fall to as low as $25m-$28m for the financial year.
That would be around half its pro-forma earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the 2018 financial year of $50.3m.
Wagners shares have plunged from an all-time high of $4.29 in October last year to below $2 late last month, on the back of a softening outlook for building construction in the company’s main markets in Queensland, delays in major infrastructure announcements, and the dispute with Boral.
Wagners floated at $2.71 a share in December 2017.
Cement is the group’s most profitable product, and analysts say the Boral contract makes up about a third of Wagners’ earnings. The company said last month that the decision to suspend supply to Boral, for up to six months, would cost it $20m in lost revenue.
In its statement last night, the company said the earnings downgrade factored in the loss of revenue from Boral, “the disruption faced by the cement business as well as the impacts that will flow into the concrete market, conditions in the precast concrete market and delays in projects starting”.
While analysts have flagged the potential loss of Boral’s business as a major threat to Wagners’ outlook, the company said last night its forecast earnings and revenue would be restored if the courts took its side in the dispute
“Upon resolution of the dispute, the sales and volumes are expected to return as provided for under the Cement Supply Agreement,” the company said.
It is the second time Wagners has lowered its earnings guidance this year. The group in January downgraded its expected full-year EBITDA to a range of between $35m and $38m, down from $39.5m previously. The group attributed that move to “substantial investment” in the business in readiness for domestic and international growth, as well as the timing of major projects that were yet to begin.
Wagners’ shares closed yesterday at $2.26, down 4c, or 1.7 per cent.
Wellcamp Airport general manager resigns 'unexpectedly'
WAGNER Corporation has launched a nationwide hunt for the next general manager of Wellcamp Airport after Sara Hales unexpectedly resigned this week.
"Sara gave me her resignation earlier this week which was unexpected," Wagner Corporation chairman John Wagner said.
"She is going to explore some other opportunities, including potentially working for herself.
"She has been here for five-and-a-half years and has done a fantastic job in positioning the airport into a very well-run business and we're sad to see her go.
"We appreciate everything she has done to get the airport to where it is."
Mrs Hales said she was grateful to be part of the airport's development, describing her rise from community consultation to general manager as a "terrific ride".
"I'm very proud of what we've achieved over the last five years," she said.
"I really look forward to finding new ways to make a difference and continue to give back to Toowoomba and Queensland."
She hoped to remain in the region.
Mrs Hales is the second general manager at the airport since it opened in 2014.
She replaced Phil Gregory in the top role in 2017.
Mr Wagner said the position would oversee all operations at the airport, including export, with a nationwide recruitment search.
The online job listing called for someone who understood regulatory environment of Australian airports, and experience in the "development of Australian Border Agency Service at new international airports is highly regarded".
@mnewbery time to brush up on your interview techniques
I haven't considered Tornados commentary to be anti. It's just Market facts that are most likely correct. I like to see these sorts of ventures being done as It's putting your money where your mouth is as long as there's no skullduggery and corruption. The prices being paid for the normal airports are based on Monopoly aspects so the more competition, the better. Nev
I subscribe to the local paper and most of these articles are behind the paywall, Wellcamp is a shining example of what happens when you bypass the normal planning procedures and do it because you can.
FUTURE pilots can now apply to study at the Qantas pilot academy, with the Wellcamp Airport-based school to welcome its first intake of students in September this year.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said Qantas had been progressing the development of the academy's facilities, together with the Wagner Corporation and support from the Queensland Government.
"More than 22,000 people have so far registered their interest in the academy so we expect there to be some exceptional talent amongst them, putting their hand up to commence their pilot training," Mr Joyce said.
"We've partnered with Flight Training Adelaide, a leading training provider, and will offer purpose-built facilities and student accommodation. The Toowoomba site will be a world-class training school for future pilots.
"We look forward to welcoming the first students to the academy later this year."
Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) will be the training provider for the Wellcamp Airport school.
FTA will bring a mix of modern single and twin-engine aircraft with glass cockpits to support the training with a mentoring program that will involve of some of Qantas' most senior pilots.
The academy course has been designed to train students with little to no flying experience and includes both theory and practical components. Students will graduate with a number of qualifications including a commercial pilot licence, ready to commence a career in commercial or general aviation.
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the Qantas pilot academy would open up new aviation career pathways in regional Queensland.
"The (State) Government's $105 million Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund has supported this exciting project, and I'm delighted a training provider has been appointed and applications are now open for the first intake of students," Mr Dick said.
"Now, it's time for take-off, and we're excited to keep working with major project partners Qantas, Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and Toowoomba Regional Council to deliver and maximise this project."
Qantas will offer a scholarships program to make a number of grants available. These range from covering the cost of accommodation through to full training.
About 790,000 more pilots will be required globally over the next 20 years with about one third of them in the Asia Pacific region.
The national carrier said addressing the gender imbalance among pilots - which globally stands at just five per cent women - will be key to meeting market demand for aviators.
About 17 per cent of the 22,000 people who have registered their interest in the Toowoomba-based academy are female.
A Qantas spokeswoman said the location for the second academy would be announced soon.
Budding pilots can apply at qantas.com/pilotacademy.
Information for students:
The application process consists of a pilot aptitude test, core skills test and an interview. Testing will be held in selected cities, including Toowoomba and Adelaide. A $200 fee will be payable and any travel will be at the applicant's own expense.
The following training programs will be offered at the Toowoomba site:
AVI50215 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane)
AVI50415 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
AVI60216 Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Pilot in Command)
All three qualifications can be completed in 52 weeks (and may be extended if weather conditions affect flying hours).
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An artist impression of what the Qantas Pilot Training Academy at Wellcamp Airport will look like.
On successful completion of the qualifications above, students will also qualify for the following CASA licences and ratings:
CASA Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL)
CASA Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (ME IR)
CASA theory credits for an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) and
CASA Multi-Crew Cooperation Certificate
No minimum academic qualifications are required, however a strong understanding of maths and science at a senior high school level is desirable. Students need to be at least 18 years of age to apply for a CASA Commercial Pilots Licence.
After graduation, students will automatically join the Qantas group's pilot talent pool and have access to opportunities with other partners which will help fast track placement in the aviation industry.
Students will have access to funding options and access to a range of scholarships.
WAGNER'S WIN: The war that costs millions in legal fight
ONE of the region's most powerful developers has strongly encouraged the Toowoomba Regional Council to review its decision-making processes to avoid wasting ratepayers' funds.
The suggestion follows Wagner Corporation this week winning a labyrinthine legal dispute with the TRC over levied infrastructure charges at Wellcamp Airport and Wellcamp Business Park.
The Planning and Environment Court found the TRC had not and had no intentions to provide stormwater infrastructure at the developments, and agreed the company should not be charged the levies.
The legal dispute between the Wagner company and the TRC had lasted more than three years.
Wellcamp Business Park director Denis Wagner welcomed the court's decision which he said agreed with the company's view the TRC should not charge for "infrastructure and services that it does not provide".
"We are still absorbing the court's decision," he said.
"It is really disappointing that millions of dollars have been spent on the legal process to achieve an outcome that was offered to council three years ago."
Mr Wagner has been a vocal campaigner for equal infrastructure levies for all businesses and developments, and warned the company would take its business elsewhere unless charges were made fairer.
"Wagners is committed to bringing new enterprises into this region," he said.
"Enterprises that will enhance opportunities for growth as well as creating jobs and prosperity for the wider community.
"There is a community expectation that our council share this vision and ensure charges are relevant, fair and equitable for the community as a whole."
The council was asked how much the legal battle cost, but the figure was not immediately available.
When asked if the council would review its decision-making process, council CEO Brian Pidgeon said: "Council is still considering the decision before determining its formal response to the ruling and is therefore unable to make any comment at this stage."
Was wondering if you were going to post that one.....Banks have just been raked over the coals for fees for no service and TRC wants to charge millions for infrastructure that it had no intention of providing. Wasting your money and mine to fight the indefensible act of trying to rip off others. It's fraud. Their residential application fees are no better, they charge extortionate fees for minor issues, so they can support their habit of spending other peoples money on feel good crap.
If you and I charged people for services or products that you and I, had no intention of delivering, and did not deliver, you and I would definitely be charged with "intent to defraud".
I wonder why the TRC then thinks it's O.K. for a Council to behave in this manner? Because there's no chance of anyone on Council being charged with "intent to defraud", due to the fact that they can hide behind a corporate mask??