Berrigan Shire and Albury City Council have joined forces in a bid to attract Qantas pilot training to the local area.
As part of the proposal, Tocumwal Aerodrome would host small aeroplane training before the aspiring pilots graduate to larger aircraft training in Albury.
Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins said if successful the ongoing pilot training program would provide an economic boost for the local economy.
Mr Perkins said the closeness of the shire to Albury and the excellent facilities already available make their combined proposal ‘‘a perfect fit’’ for Qantas.
He also said the ‘‘uncontrolled airspace’’ at Tocumwal is ideal for small aircraft training.
‘‘We sought to partner with Albury as they have the controlled airspace required and we have the uncontrolled airspace required, and Qantas needs both.
‘‘Uncontrolled airspace is basically where air traffic control is not needed to direct planes and aircraft over particular spaces.
‘‘Qantas want to fly a fleet of smaller training aircraft without passenger aircraft near them.
‘‘The pilots would learn how to fly a plane both academically and practically so they need to start off flying at the lowest level which can be easily done at a place like Tocumwal.
‘‘The (Tocumwal) aerodrome would be busier but it won’t affect the gliders or other planes that use the facility.
‘‘There is a plane weight limit of 5,800 kilograms at Tocumwal so it will be the same type of planes that currently fly out of Tocumwal but just owned by Qantas.’’
Mr Perkins said while Qantas has opened up the opportunity to councils across Australia, he expects their proposal will ‘‘stack up’’ to others.
He said the aerodrome has hosted major events in recent years and received excellent feedback about the facility.
Council has also committed to ‘‘go to any lengths’’ to ensure the noise from the planes is addressed, adding that any negatives would be outweighed by the positives of the pilot training program being based in Tocumwal.
‘‘We expect it will create jobs with the need for accommodation and other services and it will help sustain the aerodrome by making more use of the facilities,’’ Mr Perkins said.
‘‘Qantas would need to put in money to make any potential upgrades to the facilities.
‘‘There won’t be an expansion of the aerodrome except for any required facility upgrades.
‘‘Other potential costs could include resurfacing runways as we’d expect them to deteriorate over time.
‘‘The program could draw complaints with regards to noise but we would seek to engage a plan which would aim to minimise any noise over residential areas.’’
Council expects an announcement from Qantas in the coming months.