Australia partnership gives aviation graduates wings to fly

SOURCE: Irving Martinez/Unsplash
CQUniversity aviation students now have the opportunity to work with a major national airline within just two years of graduation.

By U2B Staff 

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CQUniversity has teamed up with the aviation industry in Australia on a pilot career programme that aims to address the global pilot shortage.

Together with Hinterland Aviation and Virgin Australia Airlines, the university is giving aviation graduates the opportunity to go from a pilot career with a regional airline to a major airline within just two years of graduation.

“This is a momentous partnership not only for CQUniversity, Hinterland and Virgin Australia but more importantly for the opportunity it provides to our graduating pilots,” CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp said in CQNews.

“Not only is this partnership addressing the global pilot shortage but it also aligns with the University’s Strategic Plan by providing sector-leading graduate opportunities.”


Through the agreement, the Cairns regional airline Hinterland Aviation will get their pick of aviation students graduating with degrees from CQUniversity.

After a period of two years, the student will have the opportunity to apply for a position with Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia General Manager for Aircraft Operations Mike Fitzgerald welcomed the partnership.

“Investing in the future generation of pilots is a top priority for Virgin Australia, and we’re pleased to be participating in this initiative alongside CQUniversity Australia and Hinterland Aviation and providing students with the opportunity for potential employment with our airline in their future careers,” he said.

Hinterland Aviation Managing Director Mark Dorward echoed the sentiment, adding that the initiative would help create a talent pipeline for the future.


A growing airline pilot shortage is expected to hit the global airline industry hard, as higher education systems fail to keep pace with spiking demand for air travel.

Industry estimates from Boeing say that as air travel demand doubles over the next 20 years, airlines will need to match that with an additional 800,000 pilots. Of that figure, the Asia Pacific region has a need for the largest chunk at about 30 percent or over 260,000 pilots.

Australia, home to one of the biggest pilot pools, is best placed to fill this demand. 

“Hinterland Aviation is proud to be part of this initiative to develop a graduate pilot career continuum,” Dorward said.

“We see the potential of this pathway, which, through partnership, provides opportunities to ensure that all aspects of training and development are strategically aligned for mutual benefit.

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity in developing a sustainable supply of highly capable aviation professionals across the industry.”