Qantas says its has received more than 500 applications, including from as far away as Europe, in its external pilot recruitment drive ahead of the arrival of the Boeing 787-9 in October 2017.
In February, Qantas announced plans to hire 170 new pilots over the next three years to support growth on the back of a firm order of eight Dreamliners that was confirmed August 2015.
It is the oneworld alliance member’s first significant recruitment of pilots since 2009.
Qantas said the range of applicants covered experienced Airbus and Boeing pilots to graduates seeking their first job. While the 500 applications were mainly from Australia, people from New Zealand and Europe also put their hat in the ring.
Following the selection process, the new recruits were expected to begin Qantas training in January 2017 and be flying by May that year.
The airline said the bulk of the new hires would commence their Qantas career as second officers on the Airbus A330 fleet, which fly domestically and to Asia and Honolulu.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to create opportunities for our current flight crew this year and now can open up the doors to aspiring Qantas pilots,” Qantas chief pilot Dick Tobiano said in a statement.
“We’re encouraging pilots across the industry and across the world to apply for a role with Qantas.
“The applicants that meet the Qantas standard will join the world’s most trusted group of pilots.”
Prior to seeking applications from the wider aviation community, the company also held an internal recruitment program where QantasLink pilots were also invited to apply to move across to the “mainline” Qantas jet fleet.
As a consequence, QantasLink would be seeking pilots as “backfill”. Qantas said its low-cost carrier unit Jetstar was also recruiting for A320 and 787 pilots.
The careers section of the Jetstar website showed open applications for A320 First Officer’s in Melbourne, A320 Captains and First Officers for Jetstar Japan and Dash-8 Captains and First Officers for Jetstar New Zealand’s regional turboprop operations based out in Auckland.
Meanwhile, the Virgin Australia website showed the airline was advertising for ATR First Officers, Boeing 777-300ER Second Officers based out of Australia and Boeing 737 First Officers based in New Zealand.