Australia’s largest helicopter flight training company, Becker Helicopters, has announced plans to create an operating base in Whyalla within the next 12 months.

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.

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.

Operating since 1995, Becker Helicopters is the only flight training company in the Southern Hemisphere to deliver a military based syllabus.  Becker Helicopters founder Mike Becker said the company had been looking interstate and overseas for a new base.  Hoping to remain in Australia, Mike, and wife and CEO, Capt. Jan Becker chose South Australia because of the state’s innovative and increasing defence sector.

Making the announcement during a visit 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.

RDAWEP has worked with the South Australian Government who will support the establishment of the new base in Whyalla through the Economic Investment Fund.

“RDAWEP continuously strives to diversify and develop the regions economy through working in collaboration with industry and the three tiers of government.  Helping to secure the Becker Helicopter Training Academy at Whyalla provides a new industry to the region with some very high tech training and employment resources and opportunities.”  said Dion Dorward, CEO, Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula.

“The national and international customer demand for Becker’s services introduces a new, culturally diverse and exciting social aspect for Whyalla and the region to capitalise on.  The additional commercial activity and associated development at the Whyalla Airport can be a catalyst for other aviation projects.”  Mr Dorward said.

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