New Association to Support Flight Training in Australia

17th Sep 2021

A new aviation association is in the process of being formed to give a stronger voice to the flight training industry in Australia.

Australian Flight Training Industry Association Incorporated (AFTIA) has been incorporated in response to a demand for a collective voice to represent the concerns of flight training organisations (FTOs) across the country.

At the grass roots of aviation is flight training, without which most of Australia’s airlines and charter operators would have to seek aircrew from overseas.

“Currently, the flight training sector is fragmented and has no representative body to speak collectively for all levels of aviation training from high capacity regular public transport (RPT) to the local flying school level,” said Maddy Johnson, Chair of AFTIA.

“This has resulted in a disconnect between industry and government at a time of regulatory reform when FTOs need strong advocacy with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and other aviation organisations and bodies.

AFTIA has been formed to take a strategic view of flight training with the aim of representing all areas of flight training as a single voice.”


AFTIA has been formed with aims to:

  • provide a conduit for major stakeholders to voice flight training issues across the whole training sector from professional first instance flight training, general aviation, corporate and charter to major commercial airlines;
  • provide a cohesive point of contact through which key agencies can engage the flight training industry to discuss policy related issues such as student loans, equitable loans access for students and subsidised apprenticeship-style support for first employers;
  • be a recognised industry body with which government can engage for better policy making and improved public value, including to provide a current broad industry perspective to enhance better policy legislative outcomes that will see better and easier compliance and greater safety outcomes;
  • work across the flight training sector from foundation training to major airlines for consistency and appropriate training in preparation for advancement, to retain experience and standardisation and to capitalise on the opportunity to improve industry resilience in times of growth and change.

“Competition in aviation has always been robust and the uncertainly of COVID has increased the pressure,” AFTIA recognises. “The ability of the industry to recover is still uncertain, and the path forward is not yet clear. Recovery may be relatively fast, but matching trained pilots with demand may be difficult without a collaborative approach, which could put the long term sustainability of the industry at serious risk.”

Among the issues AFTIA has been set up to tackle are:

  • foreign entities supplying pilots where Australian FTO cannot make up a shortfall;
  • representing the industry sector and assisting the regulator CASA in regulatory change and reform;
  • the presence of foreign backed FTOs that have an influence on flight training in which may not be in the long term interests of Australian aviation;
  • decisions made at RPT level that cascade down to flying school level;
  • commercial airlines recruiting instructors from FTOs leaving significant gaps in capability for flying schools that are difficult and expensive to fill.

“Concerningly, there has been no existing body that widely represents of stakeholders in the Australian flight training industry. The aviation industry is complex and interrelated. While one element of aviation benefits another loses , resulting in a constant state of short term management, experience and knowledge deficits and costly upskilling.”

AFTIA aims to be the one voice that represents flight training across the sectors in a coordinated approach, recognising that the success of the industry is dependent upon all parts of the ecosystem succeeding in a coherent and collaborative fashion.

Source: See AFTIA Press Release here.

For more information, kindly contact AFTIA.

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