Australian helicopter flight training company Becker Helicopters has announced plans to create an operating base in South Australia’s upper Spencer Gulf region within the next 12 months.
Founded in 1995, Becker Helicopters, currently based at Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Airport, is the largest civilian helicopter flight training company in Australia. The company provides pilot training services and programs for overseas military personnel as well as advanced training including night vision goggle operations for medical and fire crews.
Discussions are underway between Becker Helicopters, the University of South Australia and TAFE SA to form training partnerships, facilitating the delivery of degree-level and vocational aviation and aerospace training courses in Whyalla.
It is expected at least 50 international students will live in the area during their two-year course.
The planned growth will include hangers, hard-stands and administration buildings and be established at the Whyalla Airport to provide pilot and aircrew training for military and civil personnel. This will equate to up to 50 international students every year, which will be supported by 80 ongoing full-time jobs.
The SA government said it will support the establishment of the new base in Whyalla through the Economic Investment Fund.
Becker Helicopters CEO Jan Becker said the company is excited to grow its operations in the "Defence State".
"This is an exciting day in the history of Becker Helicopters," Becker said. "We are proud that South Australia is going to be home for our major training capabilities and have been overwhelmed by the support and assistance we have been receiving from the local Whyalla Council and the South Australian government through Defence SA.
"Our partnerships with TAFE SA and UniSA are integral to this operation and the type of courses we are offering. The infrastructure that is existing in the town and yet to be built will see our capability increase as the opportunities for the area and the local community grow. South Australia is the Defence State and as such we intend to bring Defence business into the area."