Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said people already live in Warwick and travel to Wellcamp Airport for work.
Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said people already live in Warwick and travel to Wellcamp Airport for work. Contributed

Dobie jumps in on jumbo bid to bring Qantas academy to Downs

SOUTHERN Downs mayor Tracy Dobie has joined forces with Toowoomba in a battle to secure a contract that would bring 700 jobs to the Darling Downs and see pilots from Australia's largest airline touch down in Warwick and Stanthorpe.

Cr Dobie talked up the Southern Downs to Qantas representatives on Tuesday after the Darling Downs was shortlisted as one of nine possible locations for a $20 million training academy.

Should the Darling Downs be selected, a major training base would be established at Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport.

But the mayor said Warwick and Stanthorpe aerodromes would also be utilised.

"Surrounding airports are required as part of the training regime so the training pilots would be utilising Stanthorpe and Warwick airport,” Cr Dobie said.

A Qantas training academy would bring hundreds of jobs to the Darling Downs.
A Qantas training academy would bring hundreds of jobs to the Darling Downs. SCOTT POWICK

Cr Dobie said she was working with Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio to try and secure the contract.

"It's like rugby league: you're on separate teams but when you play State of Origin you all work together,” she said.

She said the Darling Downs and Granite Belt was a perfect place to host the academy.

Warwick glides say having to share the airways with trainee pilots would not deter them from their hobby.
Warwick glides say having to share the airways with trainee pilots would not deter them from their hobby. Shannon Newley

"Look at it: you're really only two hours from Brisbane, you have young trainees in an academy and they have close proximity to major hubs.

"Everything a young person could want is close by,” she said.

Warwick Gliding Club president Ivor Harris said increased air traffic from the academy would not deter local gliders.

"Gliders and powered aircraft can mix quite happily. It is not something that is going to stop us flying in Warwick,” he said.



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