Qantas plane (new logo)

Queensland secures first Qantas pilot training academy

Exciting news for aspiring pilots in Queensland today, with it being revealed that Toowoomba will be home to a new Qantas pilot training academy set to open in mid-2019.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joined Qantas at Wellcamp Airport for the announcement of the Academy this morning.

It’s understood the aviation training school will have capacity to train up to 250 pilots a year and create up to 160 jobs in training and support roles.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airport, state and local government, and the community had demonstrated that Toowoomba would make a great home for the first Qantas Group Pilot Academy site.

“Qantas has a well-earned reputation of having some of the world’s best pilots. For many of them, the journey will start right here in Toowoomba,” Mr Joyce said.

“Toowoomba will be an amazing place to learn to fly. It’s home to Australia’s newest airport and offers over 300 days of Queensland sunshine each year and an environment that is textbook for pilot training.”

Mr Joyce said the company has already had thousands of students express their interest in moving to Toowoomba for the pilot training.

“In partnership with the Queensland Government and the Wagner Corporation, who own the airport, we’ll build state-of-the-art training facilities and student accommodation. What we’re ultimately creating is a world-class pilot school for students from Australia and around the globe,” he said.

Toowoomba is the first of two locations chosen from a shortlist of nine regional cities, with Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga still under consideration for the second academy site.

According to Qantas, selection criteria includes access to uncongested airspace, a high proportion of clear weather days per year, access to support infrastructure and ability to attract students and trainers to live in the area.

Construction of the Academy’s new facilities at Wellcamp Airport will begin next month with the first students to commence training in mid-2019.

So far, more than 18,000 people have already registered their interest in the Academy via qantas.com/pilotacademy.

Travel Airport

Welfare debt dodgers to face overseas travel bans

Anyone owing money to Centrelink and other Government agencies could be prevented from travelling overseas in a bid to recover millions of dollars in welfare debts.

150,000 Australians owe the Government around $800 million because they were overpaid or received welfare fraudulently.

The Government has already stopped a number of people from leaving the country with more than 20 Departure Prohibition Orders issued.

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan says they will target people who consistently refuse to pay back money owed.

“It’s very important people repay money to the Australian taxpayer,” Mr Keenan said.

“The money that funds the welfare system has been earned by hardworking Austalians and they expect us to make sure that system operates with integrity, that people get the support that they need and that they’re not getting more out of the system than they’re entitled to.”

Mr Keenan says the travel bans will only be issued for large debts where efforts to recoup the money have previously failed.

One person from New South Wales was stopped from travelling overseas for business because of an outstanding $10,000 debt.

The measure has previously been used to target parents who have refused to meet child welfare payments but is now being extending.

Interest payments will also be added to unpaid debts.

Thailand

Direct flights between Gold Coast and Thailand on the horizon

Hello Thailand vacation!

Direct flights between the popular holiday spot and the Gold Coast could soon become a reality, with Mayor Tom Tate meeting with Thailand’s Tourism and Sport Minister on Tuesday to talk about the potential route.

“I’ve presented the idea of encouraging a direct flight link, from either Phuket or Bangkok, to the Gold Coast,” Mayor Tate said.

“The feedback was positive and I’ve now left it with Paul Donovan, chair of Destination Gold Coast, to progress.”

Mayor Tate said that Thai Minister Weerasak Kowsurat agreed that a direct air link would boost tourism for both destinations, with Thai Air Asia considered as the ideal airline for the flights due to its “competitive fares” and “modern fleet”.

It’s understood the Mayor spruiked the Gold Coast as a sports training and events destination, as well as our “obvious shared tourism appeal.”

It comes after the Mayor was in Phuket to sign the first agreement between the Gold Coast and Phuket, as the two destinations look to formalise a Sister Cities relationship.

You can read more about the exciting new international partnership here.

Business people

Gold Coast hosts major tourism conference

THE Gold Coast is eager to cash in on the Asian tourism market as the city hosts yet another major tourism conference on the back of the Commonwealth Games.

More than 400 Asian travel agents and Australian tourism businesses – including 38 from Queensland, of which 16 are from the Gold Coast – have descended on the tourist city for Corroboree Asia 2018.

The Asian tourism market injected $2.9 billion into Queensland’s economy in the 12 months to March.

Assistant Tourism Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the event formed part of the line-up of business conferences secured for the Coast following the success of the Commonwealth Games.

“The momentum of the games continues to build,” Ms Scanlon said. “Staging this event on the Gold Coast reinforces our city’s position as one of Queensland’s major business event hubs.”

“Travel agents play an important role in helping tourists decide their next destination. We’re working tirelessly to build the profile of the Gold Coast in Asia – Hosting Corroboree Asia helps us do just that.

“It gives us a unique platform to showcase our visitor experiences to influential international frontline travel specialists based in Queensland’s key Asian markets.”

It’s the third year in a row the Gold Coast has been chosen to host one of Tourism Australia’s key events, following the Corroboree West tourism event in 2017 and the Australian Tourism Exchange in 2016.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said Queensland was keen to cash in on the lucrative Asian market.

“We’re seeing burgeoning outbound travel from Asia. This region is vitally important when it comes to our strategy to grow Queensland’s $25 billion tourism industry,” Ms Jones said.

“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government is investing record funding in the tourism sector, including an extra $180 million over the next year.”

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said the Gold Coast was thrilled to have been awarded destination hosting rights for a second inaugural Corroboree event.

“Entrusting Destination Gold Coast to host back-to-back trade events for key international visitor markets including Asia, has afforded us an invaluable opportunity to showcase our diverse tourism portfolio,” Ms Battista said.

“This is a great vote of confidence from Tourism Australia, and reinforces the Gold Coast as world-class tourism and major events destination.”

Tigerair

Tigerair to resume direct Gold Coast to Hobart service

Gold Coasters will be able to fly to Hobart year-round with Tigerair Australia from October 30, with the airline announcing they will be offering a Gold Coast to Hobart route as a permanent service.

The airline will offer three flights a week to and from the Tasmanian capital on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The announcement comes after Tigerair trialled the Gold Coast – Hobart route last summer.

Queensland Airports Limited Business Development and Marketing Executive General Manager Adam Rowe welcomed the resumption of services, which are geared to leisure travellers.

“This was a popular service last summer season. It is great to see it back and to see it become a permanent service,” he said.

“The flights connect Australia’s premier tourist destination and one of Australia’s must-see destinations, Tasmania.”

To celebrate the return of the route, Tigerair is offering a sale fare of $69.95 one way between the two destinations from today.

For more information, visit: tigerair.com.au/