FLYING HIGH: Airways Aviation General Manager Romy Hawatt with Lismore City Mayor Isaac Smith, seeding the new Pilot Training Academy at Lismore Airport.
FLYING HIGH: Airways Aviation General Manager Romy Hawatt with Lismore City Mayor Isaac Smith, seeding the new Pilot Training Academy at Lismore Airport.

Lismore at the ‘forefront’ of global expansion in aviation

LISMORE Airport is set to get a healthy injection of activity in the coming months as global company Airways Aviation has signed a lease to develop and base a commercial pilot training school at the site.

International aviation company Airways Aviation has signed a lease to develop and base a commercial pilot training school at Lismore airport.

"This is a project that council staff have been working on to maximise the economic benefits from the airport. This includes securing a Federal Government grant at the last election to invest $4.5 million in an Instrument Landing System so that we could attract pilot training schools," Lismore mayor Isaac Smith said.

Airways Aviation will lease part of the Lismore Airport Terminal for commercial pilot training while its students study a Bachelor of Business Aviation Management at Southern Cross University.

The global company boasts the largest Diamond DA40 and DA 42 training fleet in the world with a fleet of 50 Diamond DA40, DA42 and Cessna 172 and 182 aircraft.

With training academies in Montpellier, France, Oxford, UK, Huesca, Spain, Podgorica, Montenegro, Gold Coast, Australia, Sunshine Coast, Australia and soon to be Lismore, Australia will join the Northern Rivers Aero Club, Fast Aviation and TAFE NSW in offering aviation training at the airport.

The new school will contribute many positive outcomes for future pilots and the local community, according to Airways Aviation Group founder and executive chairman Romy Hawatt.

"Airways Aviation Lismore will initially provide ab-initio and advanced flight training to our existing as well as new student pilots but, once completed, will become the Australian headquarters and the sister school to the renowned Airways Aviation Academy in France."

Mr Hawatt is optimistic that after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, aviation will return stronger than ever, with research from Boeing showing that over the next 20 years an additional 804,000 new civil aviation pilots will be needed, 769,000 new maintenance technicians and 914,000 cabin crew.

"The percentage of people and cargo movements within that global population will outpace and outgrow all previous records and we will be here to prepare, inspire and develop our graduates for careers in the burgeoning aviation industry," he said.

Southern Cross University's Dean of Business, Professor Robin Stonecash, said the university was "delighted to be able to extend its aviation offering through pilot training at Lismore".

"Airways Aviation is a valued partner of the university, operating for several years alongside our Gold Coast campus, and we are sure they will continue to offer first-class training as part of our aviation management degree," he said.

"Aviation management is one of the most exciting areas to study and the career prospects are enormous and varied. Southern Cross is excited to bring this right to the heart of the Northern Rivers."