QANTAS is looking at establishing two pilot training academies for the same price, which means Bendigo has double the chance of being a host location.

The air carrier said the demand for pilots, interest in studying and third party expressions of interest, lead it to conclude it could sustain two centres.

Bendigo was shortlisted as one of nine regional centres in line for an academy.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said the first centre would become operational in 2019, the second the year after.

Mr Joyce said almost 17,000 people had registered an interest to train at an academy.

The academy was part of the company’s plans to build a “long-term talent pipeline for its airlines and the broader industry to meet the increasing need for skilled aviators”.

Boeing’s latest estimates show that 790,000 more pilots will be needed globally over the next 20 years, about a third of them in the Asia Pacific.

“We’re aiming to train up to 100 pilots in year one but we expect this to grow to as many as 500 a year and that can only be achieved if we have more than one location,” Mr Joyce said.

“Adding up to 250 students plus instructors and support staff to any of these places needs the right infrastructure at airports, but also in the towns themselves.”

The shortlisted locations are Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth, Toowoomba and Wagga Wagga.

If Qantas uses third party assistance to build infrastructure in one state, likely to be New South Wales, it stands to reason the second academy will be built with the third party contribution in another state.