Australian regional carrier Rex congratulated Luke Kelly and Luke Morris, the inaugural recipients of the Max Hazelton Award for the most outstanding Cadet Pilot among the latest of the airline’s graduating classes. The awards were presented at a special graduation ceremony in Sydney by Toby Hazelton, the son of the legendary aviator and one of the founding fathers of Rex who passed away on 9 April aged 94.
Both the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown and the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison, addressed the graduates, applauding their important career milestone while also presenting prizes to other award winners.
Both Luke Kelly and Luke Morris were among the 16 Rex Cadet Pilots to graduate from the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Regional Express (Rex), based in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Rex launched its unique Pilot Cadet Program in December 2007 to combat a worldwide pilot shortage. Rex is the only Australian carrier to have invested in such a program to overcome the dearth of pilots which continues to plague the aviation industry.
Most of the graduates, who are now fully qualified professional pilots, will join Rex as First Officers on the airline’s fleet Saab 340 turboprop aircraft in the coming months.
“I warmly congratulate all of those graduating today. It shows that if you are driven by passion, commitment, determination and hard work you can follow your dream and become aviators,” AAPA’s Executive Chairman, Chris Hine, said.
“The future for all of you has never been brighter – the skills you now possess are in high demand and I am delighted to officially welcome you into the Rex family. I know you will do us proud,” Mr Hine said.
Three cadets, including Luke Kelly, who completed their training in April 2020 but were never formally recognised as graduation ceremonies had to be put on hold because of the pandemic, were also honoured today. All three have been flying as First Officers for more than two years.
AAPA is approved on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and also as a Registered Training Organisation by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to deliver tertiary-level qualifications. In addition to being accredited by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA), AAPA is also accredited by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) and the General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates (GCAA).
In November, 2019 the Rex Group acquired ST Engineering’s training academy based in Ballarat (STAA(A)) which was renamed AAPA Victoria. AAPA Victoria provides airline cadet training for global carriers and is accredited by CASA, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). Members of the Rex Group
AAPA Graduates receive a Commercial Pilots Licence with a multi-engine Instrument Rating. With this, they’re also be accorded a Diploma in Aviation (Commercial Pilots Licence) and a Diploma in Aviation (Instrument Rating).
AAPA’s cadets enjoy individual accommodation, fully catered dining and a swimming pool and gymnasium among other social and recreational facilities for complete and integrated live-in training.