Flight school: Virgin’s secret talks with China
Virgin Australia is in secret talks with China to build a flight training school at Tamworth.
The flight school would be able to train up to 500 pilots with reportedly more than 90 per cent of the students to be Chinese nationals.
The project was formally launched exclusively to Chinese media, with the school to be created and co-operated by China’s Hainan Airlines and Winbright Aviation.
China’s HNA Group, which owns Hainan Airlines, owns 19 per cent of Virgin Australia.
Veteran aviator Dick Smith tells Ben Fordham “it’s a disaster”.
“By the look of it Virgin’s pretty well Chinese controlled.
“It’s just the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever heard of Ben, we need a royal commission into this.”
‘It’s happening everywhere’: China buying Australian flying schools
China is buying up Australian pilot training schools.
Virgin Australia is currently in talks with a Chinese conglomerate to open a flight school in Tamworth for both Chinese and Australian pilots.
Businessman and aviation expert, Dick Smith tells Alan Jones he’s seeing continued Chinese ownership across the entire Australian aviation industry.
Mr Smith claims “it’s happening everywhere” with a Bankstown flying school the latest to be snapped up by a Chinese company.
The entrepreneur says there is already a shortage of airline pilots across Australia because “our training industry is nearly completely destroyed” and fears Australian pilots will be shut out of foreign-owned flight schools.
Mr Smith says many of these Chinese owned flying schools are failing to train Australian pilots, claiming “they’ll say an Australian pilot can comply but if you look it’s just about all Chinese pilots.”
CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Ben Morgan tells Ben Fordham local businesses simply can’t compete with Chinese overinvestment.
“Australian aviation has now become uneconomic and the future for flight training in this country is one that will be controlled by Chinese national businesses.
“Australia is for sale. Throw the ‘For Sale’ sign up and invite your Chinese interested parties.”