QANTAS Group announces a pilot academy

QANTAS will establish a pilot academy capable of training up to 500 pilots a year, to help meet the increasing need for skilled aviators in one of the fastest growing global industries.

The QANTAS Group Pilot Academy is expected to open its doors to students during 2019 and is likely to be established near an existing airfield in regional Australia to provide easy access to uncongested airspace. It will represent an initial investment of up to $20 million to establish the new facility.

QANTAS Group CEO Alan Joyce said the academy would become a critical part of the national carrier’s long term talent pipeline – and an important resource for Australian aviation.

“QANTAS has a proud history of having some of the best pilots in the world and we want to make sure it stays that way. By creating our own academy, we can train the next generation of pilots to the QANTAS Group standard.

“Boeing estimates the world will need about 640,000 more pilots in the next 20 years, with 40 per cent in the Asia Pacific region. That level of demand makes the academy important not just for QANTAS but for Australian aviation more broadly so that all parts of the industry have access to qualified pilots in a country that relies so heavily on air transport.

“Over time, we see potential for the academy to become a competitive advantage for Australia in the region. It could train pilots for other airlines and grow into the largest academy of its kind in the southern hemisphere,” added Mr Joyce.

The academy will initially train around 100 pilots a year for direct entry into the Qantas Group, including Jetstar and regional carrier, QANTAS Link. Depending on demand from other parts of the aviation industry, this could grow to 500 pilots a year on a fee-for-service basis.

The typical path for most students entering the academy will be high school and university graduates with strong academic performance. After up to 18 months of classroom, simulator and real-world flight training, students would then receive further training specific to the type of aircraft they will be flying before entering service as a First Officer on turboprop aircraft, sitting next to an experienced Captain.

Mr Joyce said that addressing the chronic gender imbalance among pilots – with a global average of 97 per cent males in the profession – would be key to meeting market demand.

“If we’re leaving out almost 50 percent of the population in our search for the next generation of 640,000 pilots, we’re clearly not tapping into all of the talent that’s available. As an industry, we need to do a much better job of encouraging women to become pilots and take up what is an exciting career path,” he said.

In late 2017, QANTAS announced the Nancy Bird Walton initiative – named after the pioneering Australian aviator – to improve on its 5 per cent proportion of female pilots. It commits the QANTAS Group to a 20 percent intake of qualified women in its 2018 Future Pilot Program (which is in line with the proportion of women in aviation courses nationally) and to reach at least 40 per cent over the next decade.

In establishing the academy, QANTAS will partner with one of several existing training providers. It will also engage with Federal, State and Territory governments to discuss possible locations.

Currently, the QANTAS Group sources pilots from a mix of new graduates from existing flying schools, pilots from general aviation and the military, and from other commercial airlines. This is expected to continue in order to provide the different levels of experience needed by the national carrier. An additional program to help mentor and then recruit the ‘best and brightest’ aviation students from five Australian universities was announced last year.  The Group has more than 3,500 pilots and plans to recruit a further 350 by the end of 2018.

QANTAS first had a pilot training school in the 1920s, shortly after the airline was established. Some of Australia’s earliest aviators were trained at its facilities in Brisbane and Longreach. Today, the QANTAS Group has a series of training facilities and flight simulators around the country as part of ongoing skills development for established pilots. Aspiring pilots wishing to express interest in finding out more about the academy can visit www.qantas.com/pilotacademy

Photo: QANTAS Group.

 

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QANTAS Link turboprops to receive a cabin upgrade

QANTAS Link-Sunstate Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) VH-LQM (msn 4450) SYD (Keith Burton). Image: 922311.

QANTAS Link’s fleet of 45 turboprop aircraft will undergo a major cabin upgrade to improve the overall experience for customers travelling on the airline’s regional network.

The interiors of the airline’s Bombardier Q200, Q300 and Q400 aircraft will be refreshed with new ergonomic seat cushioning, leather upholstery, a refreshed colour palette and new floor coverings at QANTAS Link’s maintenance facilities, including at Tamworth Airport, the airline’s hub for regional aircraft maintenance.

The upgrade program will commence by June 2018 and is expected to be completed within 18 months, with each aircraft taking approximately three days to refresh. The work will be timed to coincide with scheduled maintenance and will closely align the turboprop interiors with the QANTAS Link jet fleet.

QANTAS Group CEO Alan Joyce said the multi-million dollar investment would give regional travellers a better travel experience.

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Link-Sunstate Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) VH-LQM (msn 4450) SYD (Keith Burton). Image: 922311.

QANTAS Airlink-Sunstate Airlines aircraft slide show:

Norwegian takes delivery of final Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Norwegian on February 21 took delivery of its 100th direct buy Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the last of this aircraft type in its fleet. Norwegian originally ordered 42 737-800 in 2007 and leased 26 of these aircraft between 2008 and 2016. The airline now has a total of 118 737-800 aircraft in its fleet.

“Today’s delivery marks the end of an era for Norwegian. When we first introduced the Boeing 737-800 aircraft to our fleet 11 years ago, we did so because it was a modern aircraft with a record of reliability, fuel efficiency and low operating costs,” said Bjørn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian. “Now, at the dawn of a new era, our fleet expansion will continue with more environmentally friendly aircraft as we prepare to take delivery of more than 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over the next few years.”

In 2017, Norwegian took delivery of the first six of 110 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft the airline has on order. These initial aircraft were used to launch the airline’s service between the Northeastern United States and six European destinations, primarily in Ireland. The 737 MAX is more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than its predecessor, and after operating the aircraft since July 2017, Norwegian can confirm that this aircraft burns 18 percent less fuel than the 737-800. With this newer aircraft type, Norwegian is able to realise lower operating costs because of its fuel efficiency, seat capacity and overall range.

Norwegian will take delivery of 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2018, which will allow the airline to launch additional medium-haul routes throughout its global network.

Photo: Norwegian.

Air Canada rouge to expand to Quebec City

Air Canada rouge (Air Canada) Airbus A319-112 C-GSJB (msn 1673) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 913114.

Air Canada rouge is expanding it route map to Quebec City. According to Airline Route, rouge will start operating in Quebec City on July 1, 2018 and will take over the two Air Canada Express routes from YQB to both Montreal (Trudeau) and Toronto (Pearson).

Copyright Photo: Air Canada rouge (Air Canada) Airbus A319-112 C-GSJB (msn 1673) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 913114.

Air Canada rouge aircraft slide show:

Air Canada to accelerate the phase out of the Embraer 190s

Air Canada Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW C-FHOY (msn 19000105) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 100674.

Air Canada (Montreal) outlined in its 4Q and 2017 earnings call its revised fleet plans. The AC executives stated the company have already received two Boeing 787 Dreamliners and two Boeing 737-8 MAX 8s since the beginning of the year. The company expects to take delivery of three additional 787s and 14 737-8s in the first half of 2018.

In 2019 Air Canada plans to retire five Boeing 767-300s. The 767s should be gone by late 2019 from the mainline fleet.

The company has also decided to accelerate the retirement of the Embraer 190 fleet. The 25 Embraer 190s will now be retired before the new Bombardier CS300s are delivered in 2019. To do this, the company will retain the Airbus A319 fleet a bit longer until the Bombardier CS300s are fully delivered.

Air Canada will receive the first Bombardier CS300 in 2019.

Additionally, Air Canada rouge is now operating 25 Boeing 767-300s.

Copyright Photo: Air Canada Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW C-FHOY (msn 19000105) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 100674.

Air Canada aircraft slide show (historic liveries):

Frontier Airlines launches flights from Charleston, South Carolina

"Wiley, the Bison", delivered on September 7, 2017

Frontier Airlines on February 20 celebrated the launch of new low-cost, nonstop flights to Denver and Philadelphia from Charleston International Airport.

The start of these low-cost, non-stop flights comes just two weeks after the carrier announced additional routes in Charleston. By this summer, Frontier will operate to five nonstop destinations. Flights to Austin and Trenton, N.J. will start in April with service to Chicago-O’Hare beginning in May. When service starts on all routes, Frontier will operate the only nonstop flights between Charleston and Austin as well as on the only nonstop flights to Trenton, N.J. which offers convenient access to the Greater Philadelphia area.

Copyright Photo: Frontier Airlines (2nd) Airbus A320-251N WL N313FR (msn 7727) (Wiley, the Bison) ONT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 940994.
Frontier Airlines (2nd) aircraft slide show:

KLM signs a code share agreement with Widerøe

Wideroe (Widerøe's Flyveselskap AS) Bombardier DHC-8-103 LN-WIA (msn 359) BOO (Wingnut). Image: 909356.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Widerøe announced on February 20 that they have signed a codeshare agreement, which expands the global route offering for both companies.

The two airlines now jointly offer several destinations in Norway, which means that passengers can fly with both airlines on the same booking. Thanks to the new agreement, which will come into force on February 21, KLM and Widerøe will offer customers new opportunities and flexibility to choose from a larger number of destinations for their travels, including domestic Norwegian routes to smaller destinations.

KLM will add a KL code on Widerøe’s Norwegian domestic routes, which allows passengers from around the world to change flights in Oslo, Trondheim or Bergen to continue their journey with the same ticket and a one-stop check-in to a number of smaller airports around Norway.

As of February 21, the cooperation will cover the following routes:

  • Bergen (BGO) – Tromsø (TOS), Bodø (BOO), Kristiansund (KSU), Molde (MOL), Ålesund (AES) and Florø (FRO)
  • Trondheim (TRD) – Tromsø (TOS), Kristiansund (KSU) and Harstad / Narvik (EVE).
  • Oslo (OSL) – Florø (FRO), Ørsta / Volda (HOV), Leknes (LKN), Svolvær (SVJ), Stokmarknes (SKN), Mo i Rana (MQN)

Copyright Photo: Wideroe (Widerøe’s Flyveselskap AS) Bombardier DHC-8-103 LN-WIA (msn 359) BOO (Wingnut). Image: 909356.

Wideroe aircraft slide show: