Becker Helicopters to propel jobs in regional South Australia

24 January

Australia’s largest helicopter flight training company, Becker Helicopters, today announced plans to create an operating base in South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf region within the next 12 months.

The planned growth includes hangers, hard-stands and administration buildings and will 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.

In addition to the ongoing jobs, predominantly pilot instructors, engineers, operations and administration staff, further local jobs from flow-on work are likely to be created, as a result of the number of students living in the area.

Making today’s announcement during a two-day trip to Whyalla, Premier Jay Weatherill said Becker Helicopters’ expansion into Whyalla will create a new business sector for the town and increase economic activity in regional South Australia. The South Australian Government will support the establishment of the new base in Whyalla through the Economic Investment Fund.

Becker Helicopters, currently based at Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Airport, is the largest civilian helicopter flight training company in Australia. Founded in 1995, 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. At least 50 international students will live in the area during their two-year course, creating further economic benefits for local businesses.

Premier and Minister for Defence and Space Industries Jay Weatherill said the new operating base will create 80 new jobs in a new industry to the region, along with flow-on work and broader economic benefits for the region.

“These highly skilled roles will offer sustainable employment opportunities for South Australians, with the majority of positions to be sourced locally.”

“I welcome Becker Helicopters’ expansion, and potential future relocation, to Whyalla – a strategic move which the South Australian Government supports to create jobs and stimulate economic activity in regional South Australia,” Mr. Weatherhill said.

Captain Jan Becker, Chief Executive Officer of Becker Helicopters said the company is proud that South Australia is going to be home for their major training capabilities and have been overwhelmed by the support and assistance they’ve 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,” said Ms. Becker.

“South Australia is the Defence State and as such we intend to bring Defence business into the area. We are excited about engaging in the community and providing our aviation and aerospace services into the future.”