Kempsey Airport will soon be the home of an $18 million flying school, which is set to have numerous flow-on effects to the town's economy.
Today, Kempsey Shire Council announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Australian International Aviation College for the training facility to be built at the airport.
Construction on stage one of the facility is set to begin and be completed within the year, and will see the arrival of new aircraft valued at $7M and a total student body of 150.
Chief flying instructor Kevin McMurtrie said 20 cadets arrived in Kempsey this week with a second cohort of 33 students due to arrive in mid-February.
An estimated 34 staff will also be appointed during stage one, including 25 flight instructors, an operations manager, theory and language teachers, aircraft maintenance engineers and administrative staff.
Mr McMurtrie said the college was extremely happy with the Kempsey campus operations during 2016, with graduating students now moving on to the next training phase of utilising flight simulators currently based at Port Macquarie Airport.
“Under our longer-term plans, these simulators will be relocated to Kempsey to be housed within the new and expanded facility,” Mr McMurtrie said.
"The flying school is expected to have broad benefit for the local economy with each student (spending)f $43,900 per annum (while training in town)" a spokesperson for Council said today.
"Additionally, every two students attract an international visitor who spends around $2000 in the local community, while each AIAC employee generates 3.65 flow-on jobs locally."
Stage two of the development, valued at $14.9M and with aircraft valued at $8M, is expected to be completed during 2018-19 and will see student numbers increase to 200 with an additional 28 professional staff appointed.