FLY-IN DELEGATION: A delegation of Chinese aviation industry officials and pilots were in Mildura yesterday to hold important discussions with Mildura Airport management, local politicians and senior representatives from some of Mildura’s educational institutions with the view to enhancing further co-operation with our community. Pictured are, left to right, IAA’s, Wenwei Zhang, CAAC’s, Ming Zeng, Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster, CAAC’s, Guangzu Han, CASA chair, Tony Mathews, Mildura Mayor Simon Clemence and Mildura Airport Corporation chair, Peter O’Donnell.

By JOHN DOOLEY

MILDURA Airport played host to a delegation of visiting Chinese Aviation Authority officials and the chief pilots from six of their country’s leading airlines yesterday, with the establishment of a flight-attendant training hub being one of the main items on the agenda.

The delegation from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and major Chinese airlines, met for a round table discussion covering a number of key subjects, and were joined by newly appointed Mildura Airport CEO, Trevor Willcock, MAPL chair, Peter O’Donnell, CASA chair, Tony Mathews, Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster, Mildura Mayor Simon Clemence, together with La Trobe University’s Deborah Neal and Rebecca Crossling, and SuniTAFE general manger education, Robin Kuhne, and international marketing manager, Jane Zhang. 

Following the meeting the Chinese delegation planned to tour Pearson Aviation’s Hangar 51 facility, which is home to the International Aviation Alliance (IAA) Chinese Pilot Training Academy and its fleet of Cessna training aircraft and simulators.

IAA have expressed interest to further develop and enhance the relationship that CAAC and Chinese Airlines already enjoy with the Mildura community.

A spokesperson for IAA said that their group of stakeholders had been looking forward to their meeting with key representatives in Mildura to discuss the possibility of bringing more benefits to the Sunraysia community. 

“Those discussion points included, but were not limited to, engaging in potential joint-training programs with local education institutions in Mildura such as SuniTAFE and La Trobe University and to further expand the airline cadets training program, and to introduce a flight-attendant training program,” the spokesperson said.

IAA was founded in 2017 and currently owns and operates four aviation schools – Aero Dynamic Flight Academy, Clamback and Hennessy, Pearson Aviation and Air Queensland. They are now training 95 cadets from several Chinese airlines, including China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines. 

The company is expected to have 41 more cadets arriving in Mildura on December 1.

The Federal Government, Mildura Rural City Council, together with the Mildura Airport Corporation and the community, fully support the IAA Pilot School, and have contributed a combined $4million towards the acquisition and building of an ILS (Instrument Landing System) for the pilot school, which will also improve safety at the airport.

An analysis of the Pilot School’s business case demonstrates a net benefit to Sunraysia of $6.2million a year, with a gross turnover far in excess of that – a significant boost to the local economy.