SYDNEY, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- A new state-of-the-art flight academy has opened in Australia with the capacity to train over 250 pilots per year.
Built by Aussie aviation giant Qantas in association with the Queensland State Government and the Wagner Corporation, the facility in the rural city of Toowoomba houses a 1,500 square meter hangar, four flight simulators, numerous classrooms and student accommodation quarters.
Learning to fly in single-engine Diamond DA40 and multi-engine DA42 aircraft, the graduates of the Qantas Pilot Academy will eventually become captains of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380's.
"Opening our new Pilot Academy is a historic moment for Qantas, for aviation in Australia and for the thousands of future pilots who will learn how to fly here in Toowoomba," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said on Wednesday.
"Qantas Group pilots have a long-held reputation for being amongst the best in the world because of their high standards of training, and that tradition continues with the launch of our own Pilot Academy."
With research by Boeing estimating the Asia-Pacific region will require an extra 248,000 pilots by 2035, Joyce said it is a priority for the airline to increase the proportion of female and indigenous pilots.
As part of this initiative, Qantas will offer three 85,000 Australian dollars (56,000 U.S. dollars) scholarships to promising Aboriginal students. There are also plans to create a similar scholarship program for female candidates from regional and remote areas.
"When we announced the academy, we said we wanted to tap into a broader, more diverse talent base," Joyce explained.
"Through our scholarship program we're encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, women and regional students to pursue a career in aviation to ensure the pilots in the cockpit better reflect the diversity of those sitting in the cabin."