Industry partnerships

Two pilots sitting in a plane going through a checklist

The UNSW School of Aviation maintains a range of industry partnerships, in the effort to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of research, responsibility and best practice. In addition, these connections to industry provide opportunities, access and mentorship to the next generation of graduates working in the field of aviation. In 2021, UNSW Aviation hosted the 24th ATRS World Conference online for the first time, with great success.

  • Building on the success of the QantasLink-UNSW Partnership that has been operating since 2015, the Qantas Future Pilot Program is an exciting opportunity for current and future UNSW Aviation students and recognises the commitment of the Qantas Group to employing quality graduate pilots.

    The Qantas Future Pilot Program was announced on 11 December 2017 by the QantasLink CEO Mr John Gissing.

    In addition to the opportunity to be selected, UNSW students will also benefit from the seamless transition to the Airline Transition Course (Graduate Diploma of Advanced Flying) that UNSW will continue to offer based on QantasLink’s Dash-8 Q400 turboprop aeroplanes.

    Current students who have already applied to be a QantasLink Approved Student need take no immediate action, your application will automatically transition to the Qantas Future Pilot Program.

    UNSW Aviation Flying students of appropriate citizenship status can apply to become ‘QantasLink Approved Students’ during the initial part of their flying training. Those accepted by QantasLink as a QantasLink Approved Student will have their progress monitored, and be mentored by QantasLink personnel throughout their training. On successful completion of their training (including Multi-Crew Coordination and DASH-8 systems courses) and academic studies, and on completion of psychometric test and interviews, QantasLink Approved Students will be considered for employment as a First Officer by QantasLink with flying hours less than those required for Direct Entry.

    In order to apply to become 'QantasLink Approved Students', students will firstly need to be enrolled in the Bachelor of Aviation (Flying) (Program code 3980) or the Graduate Diploma in Flying (Program Code 5536), and be actively undertaking flying training in one of these programs.

    Read further information about our undergraduate flying programs.

    Please see the Joint UNSW-QantasLink Press releases:

  • In July 2020,  Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert awarded the first SYD100 equity scholarship to the inaugural recipient, Manmeet Kaur, handing her the four-year SYD100 Aviation scholarship to study at the School of Aviation.

    Professor Gabriel Lodewijks said he was thrilled to receive a century of support from Sydney Airport, highlighting the significance of Aviation in Australia.

    The scholarship plays an important part in supporting the next generation of leaders in aviation.

    Courtesy of The Australian
    Inaugural SYD100 recipient Manmeet Kaur with Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert
  • With the construction of Sydney’s second airport well and truly underway, relations between the Nancy Bird Walton Western Sydney Airport (WSA) and UNSW Aviation has been established with the goal of cultivating a long standing industry partnership in what will be of mutual benefit.

    In 2020, seeking to formalize the relationship with the school, WSA made an inaugural donation to help support the establishment of a new course in Sustainability for the Aviation program, provide collaboration in case studies with students and special guest speakers. As a result, AVIA3910 Environmental Performance in Aviation was developed with industry input, and introduced for the first time during T2, 2021. 

    The cooperation also brings unique chances for research. Examples of research projects include the impact of gate allocation processes on the environmental impact of the airport, and the impact of using automated guided vehicles in baggage handling.

    The new 24-hour curfew-free airport is on track to be operational by 2026.  With projections of more than 13,000 aviation-related jobs that will be needed, the partnership between UNSW Aviation and WSA is of vital importance to creating a supply chain of graduates with the smarts to define the future of aviation in Sydney and the world.

  • The UNSW School of Aviation Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) is an external, expert and experienced group of industry practitioners who provide strategic advice to the school in relation to the school’s mission to ensure its programs are of continued relevance to industry and are of a standard befitting a globally leading research-intensive school.  The IAC enables the school to increase engagement with the aviation industry, ensure the relevance of it programs and research, build links between the school and stakeholders, raise and build the profile of the school’s brand and reputation and engage students and alumni with the aviation industry. It helps the school ensure that it is preparing graduates for careers in the Aviation industry through recruitment pathways and experience. 

    The IAC Chair is determined by the Head of School.  IAC membership is determined by the Chair and the Head of School.  Membership term is 3 years, which may be renewed. The IAC Chair oversees the organisation and affairs of the IAC and is responsible for keeping the IAC informed on all IAC matters.

    2021 Chair of the IAC  - Mr Nathan Miller, Chief Operating Officer for Network Aviation (A QantasGroup Airline).

  • UNSW Aviation is proud to hold a long-standing relationship with the Australian and International Pilots Association, an organisation ‘run by pilots for pilots’. AIPA sponsors two important prizes for students graduating from our flying programs: 

    1. The AIPA Prize for Best Pilot 
    2. The AIPA Prize for Most Improved Pilot 

    These prizes are awarded at Wings Night, the annual ceremony where students who have successfully completed their commercial pilot licence are awarded their Wings, and an AIPA representative often presents an inspiring talk to our future pilots. 

    In addition, AIPA hold an annual mentoring session where students get to hear from experienced pilots about their future careers and get up close and personal with some of the planes they will potentially fly. 

  • The school also enjoys the ongoing support of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) and the Australian Air Pilots Mutual Benefit Fund (AAPMBF) with the following prizes annually presented at Wings Night to students in the flying program. 

    • The AFAP AAPMBF Prize for Dux Volans 
    • The AFAP AAPMBF Prize for Dux Volans 2nd Year 
  • From the 6-9 June, UNSW Aviation had the opportunity to host a booth at the Australian Tourism Exchange at the ICC in Sydney. In 2021 the annual trade show presented by Tourism Australia hosted over 1400 in-person participants over 3-days. For the first time, the event hosted a dedicated Aviation hub involving 26 international airlines and 14 Australian airports.

    As part of this effort, UNSW School of Aviation and Tourism Australia co-organised an Aviation Data Science Competition on ‘Sustainable International Air Routes to Australia’ in partnership with Cirium. The panel of judges included Tourism Australia (Penny Rafferty - Head of Sustainability, Seamus May - Strategic Insights Analyst, Trent Banfield - International Operations & Aviation Development Manager), Cirium (Aries Valkin Calonzo - Head of Sales), Qantas (Anna Aleksandrova, Regional Network Planning Manager), Sunshine Coast Airport (Gareth Williamson, General Manager Aviation Development), Sydney Airport (Rob Wood, General Manager Aviation) and Tay Koo (Senior Lecturer & Director of Teaching, UNSW School of Aviation). Two finalists - a team led by Zoe Lo who has a background in UNSW aviation management and currently studying business and a team led by Gary Lu who is currently studying computer science at UNSW - were invited to the networking function at the ICC on the 8th June where they shared a $3,000 prize pool. Congratulations to the winners!

  • In late 2020, the School of Aviation’s Head of School, Professor Gabriel Lodewijks, was invited to sit on Alicantothe board of ALICANTO. ALICANTO is the International Association of Aviation and Aerospace Education as established by the ICAO initiative Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP).

    As part of the NGAP focus to establish pathways and networks that industry, government and academia, ALICANTO works together to uncover more innovative ways to establish career pathway programs in addressing the growing need for qualified aviation professionals. In early 2021, Professor Gabriel Lodewijks was elected as the Secretary General of ALICANTO.

    The role will be carried on by our new Head of School, Dr Brett Molesworth.

  • UNSW Aviation has had a special relationship with the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) from its inception. The ATRS was launched as a special interest group of the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTR) during the 7th Triennial WCTR Conference hosted by UNSW in Sydney in 1995. Since then, the  ATRS has been conducting and publishing research on airport efficiency.

    The ATRS annual conference aims to enhance research capability for truly multi-national and multi-disciplinary issues on air transportation, and to interact with various international and national institutions which deal with policy and/or infrastructure issues concerning international aviation.

    The conference regularly attracts between 250-300 delegates, with research papers from a wide range of academic and research institutions. Attendees from Europe, Asia, North America, and Australasia give the conference a broad international perspective.

    In 2020, UNSW Aviation's Dr Ian Douglas won the bid to host the 24th Annual World Research conference at UNSW in July 2020.  However, the conference was postponed due to COVID-19.  UNSW successfully campaigned to retain the conference for 2021 but with the continuing restrictions around COVID-19, a decision was made to hold the conference online.

    The virtual conference, hosted on the Whova platform via Zoom, was a resounding success. Held over three days (26-29 August), in 9 concurrent sessions with up to 8 parallel streams, the conference featured nearly 400 attendees from 39 countries around the world presenting 247 academic papers, PhD workshops, industry and academic keynotes and strong community engagement on the Whova platform. A lively industry panel discussion moderated by Dr Ian Douglas featured Dhruv Gupta, Sydney Airport’s Chief Aviation Officer, Alistair Hartley, Virgin’s Head of Strategy, and Trent Banfield, Head of International Operations and Aviation Development for Tourism Australia. The Global Airport Performance Benchmarking Report and Awards were presented by Prof Chunyan Yu from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with Sydney Airport winning in its category.  The conference was facilitated by a team of UNSW virtual pilots (snapshot below) that ensured a smooth flight.  Air transport researchers were grateful for the opportunity to present their work and engage with the research community, citing that it had been a positive experience for all.

  • Australia’s most respected charity, the Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS) (SE Section) has been an important partner in one of the School’s key outreach programs, the annual Current Affairs in Aviation (in Australasia) short course for high school students. The partnership has successfully brought students interested in a career in aviation together in a two day short course that gives them a taste of what it is like to study aviation, information on career pathways in aviation, as well as an overview of the current state of affairs in aviation.

    In 2021, one of the most popular segments was the presentation from the Flying Doctors’ Cameron Gibbs and James Bradbury.  The school also conducted a virtual Outback Morning Tea campaign in March with an online Trivia session, raising money for the Flying Doctors.