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Royal QLD Aero Club in VA

Old 24th Mar 2016, 08:47
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Royal QLD Aero Club in VA

Found this on another forum, anyone heard anything?

24 March 2016

Note to Members – Appointment of Voluntary Administrator

Dear Members

I regret to advise that the Boards of Royal Queensland Aero Club Limited, Airline Academy of Australia Pty Ltd and ATAE Pty Ltd resolved earlier today to appoint a Voluntary Administrator to all entities within the Royal Queensland Aero Club structure. As a consequence of this appointment all entities ceased trading with effect from this afternoon.

This outcome is particularly disappointing given the substantial progress recently made towards achieving increased scale and profitability.

I would like to take this opportunity to record my and the Board’s appreciation of the wonderful efforts of Management and Staff, particularly through the many challenges that have arisen in recent months.

The Voluntary Administrator, Nigel Markey of Pilot Partners, has commenced the process of reviewing the position of the RQAC group and will provide advice to Directors, Creditors and Members and Students in the coming weeks.

Obviously this is an incredibly sad day for our proud and historic organisation. There will be a number of people working tirelessly in the coming days to explore all avenue and options to develop a proposal that will allow the entities to emerge from Voluntary Administration.

Members will be kept informed throughout the process.

Yours sincerely

Clif Hefner​
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Old 24th Mar 2016, 08:55
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Just heard the same thing early evening, effective 1500 hrs today apparently
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Old 24th Mar 2016, 09:32
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Without doubt this is hearbreaking news. As a Flying School Owner I can attest to the financial challenges of trying to run a Flying School in the current environment.This will just be the first of many. Unfortunately its too late and the damage is done. If this is due to the unbearable Regulatory Burden, and I emphasise "if" then CASA has an obligation to act quickly, approach the Minister and offer assistance as an Interim measure to ensure this is not permitted to happen. Quick action and relatively uninterrupted Operations will be their only chance.
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Old 24th Mar 2016, 09:43
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What can you say? another icon hits the wall.
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Old 24th Mar 2016, 10:10
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Very sad. Professional outfit trying to do the right thing, nice bunch of people. I fear for this industry.
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Old 24th Mar 2016, 11:34
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So, how many 'Royal' Aero Clubs still going?

I worked for RQAC many years ago, for a short time, having started my initial training at RACNSW on Chippies, and currently have 'an interest' in RACWA., who appear to be still OK.....

Another one 'down'....Sad, especially for the 'troops'.

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Old 24th Mar 2016, 14:53
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All, i think there is more to this than meets the eye. Hopefully, creditors come out of this even. I am led to believe a maintenance organisation is owed a considerable sum. I havent had a lot to do with RQ in a number of years, but can't believe it has been driven down to thi point.
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Old 24th Mar 2016, 20:34
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A very sad day indeed. There will be many internal and external factors behind it. Internally senior management have wasted the cash on fantasies and the Board of Directors don't seem to have been up to the job to set the right direction and have adequate corporate governance over the CEO et al. Externally, Griffith University splitting the contract between RQAC/Airline Academy and Basair placed both companies at risk. I have heard that GU will go back to a single provider when the new contract is awarded in recognition that multiple providers cannot make enough out of the price that GU has screwed down with the smaller numbers.
RQAC can be sold by the Administrators as a going concern but it will depend on how the books/accounts unfold. Keep an eye out for the likes of Wagners from Wellcamp or the Qld Govt owned Aviation Australia who have been itching to get into flying training for years. Both lots and perhaps there will be others will get a technically sound organisation, with a well presented fleet and great systems for a song. The sharks are circling!
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 00:12
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Schools closing

Can anyone give me any guidance on just how many actual schools have ceased GA Operations over the last 2 years. Ideally with a reputable reference, rather than anecdotally. Cheers.
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 02:15
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Maybe GU will simply transfer AAA students over to Bassair
Then what's left for the circling Sharks
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 02:18
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The links with universities do seem to be a common theme in schools that have got into strife here. Also means that the smaller schools who don't want to deal with training on that scale can't possibly compete with what students see as "free flying" and the poor old taxpayer has to carry the debt of these students for how long? What percentage of them are in the industry 2 years after graduating?

Perhaps getting rid of the whole idea of government funded flying training to an elite few schools - who don't seem to be benefitting in the long term either - and having a level playing field in the industry might lead to a healthier flying training industry and therefore healthier suppliers as well?

We lost ACFT and The Aeroplane Company here, both great schools, both had been training Edith Cowan Uni students. RACWA struggled for a while. Join the dots.

The trail of destruction these failures leave is bad enough on a personal and professional level for the staff but also means the creditors have to hike the prices to the remaining operators to try and recoup their losses and the cycle goes on and on. It's not healthy. The government should butt out and put that money towards paying for things the country is short of such as doctors.

Best of luck to all who have been affected...hope some lessons will be learned so this sort of thing doesn't keep on happening.
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 03:05
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Megle 2 is correct. The VA means the RQAC contract is finished. GU will have to transfer the cadets to Basair, who initially will no doubt welcome the increase in numbers but down the track it will probably be their downfall with the rents they pay to The Archerfield Airport Corporation for the fancy new building which will not be big enough to handle the extra cadets (so more rent for extra space) increased landing fees for the extra activity and increased maintenance on the rather tired old Basair Fleet.
GU topslice the Fee Help income they get from the Federal Govt to keep some themselves and the poor old training provider has to try and make do with the screwed down contract.
Clare Prop is right. These university based courses are a thorn in the industry side. The cadets are sold a pup by the universities - the vision of the left hand seat in the A380. However a lot of cadets are just not motivated enough and are of mixed quality. Few will achieve their dream of flying for Qantas or Virgin. Many are just not good enough to get that airline job or any aviation flying job for that matter.
I understand that RQAC has first class systems and fleet so a smart shark wanting to get into flying training will not have to start from scratch and will probably get it for a song from the Administrator. If they are smart they will move from Archerfield where the AAC is just draining the tenants dry but putting nothing back. Keep an eye on Wellcamp west of Toowoomba if the RQAC/AAA is reborn with a new owner.
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 05:00
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I don't think you can put the failure down to just AF costs etc. The boards and management of these type arrangements are "mates" and hire either their "friends" of go for 'academic qualifications'. What's needed are those who understand that these shows are businesses and need to be run like this. There is no substitute for business acumen and aviation {GA level} experience. Hiring ex-RAAF or big airlines guys is the kiss of death as they have no experience in the $$$$ bit.
I'm amazed that they get through the GU vetting for financial fitness and collapse with no notice a few weeks later..
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 10:12
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AAA are a really great flight school. Excellent staff & instructors. Planes well maintained. Its sad its come to this. I hope they can find some kind of private investor/lender to get them out of it.

The links with universities do seem to be a common theme in schools that have got into strife here
From my understanding, whats actually causing the problem is that the Government VET FEE HELP flight training payments are not payed up front, but in arrears. Leaving organisations with a cashflow problem. Even with a profitable pricing structure, if capital in the bank account runs dry, before the the next government payment, your going to end up in administration.

And the more students you take on, the more you have to cashflow out of pocket waiting for the next government payment.

Perhaps getting rid of the whole idea of government funded flying training to an elite few schools
I disagree with this. Its made it possible for anyone, no matter their personal financial circumstances, to follow their career dreams. Just like HECS makes it possible for anyone intelligent enough to become a doctor or lawyer. These professions should be achievable by all, not just the rich.

Secondly, from my understanding over the long term there is massive forecasts for growth in aviation, and therefore demand for pilots. we need to be training the next generation of airline captains for the future, not just a few rich kids that can afford flight school.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 03:11
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I'm with Clare on this ... disagree with Kyle ... HECS/HELP and the whole "education industry" is completely out of control and bleeding Australia dry*!

I think that most objective assessments of the quality of those using HECS/HELP versus "self pay" (old-style) would clearly indicate the greater motivation, dedication and perseverance of self-paying students. However, it could be said that cheap employers may well have appreciated the glut of new students willing to compete on wage rather than quality.

(*Its amazing how such a massive con has continued and flourished for so long while the country is heading downhill under its debt burden... at least a reasonable proportion of the national health budget actually goes into health. The tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds the federal government unaccountably sprays out at the "education industry" is obscene, with a tiny proportion actually making a difference in education "outcomes" and most simply lining pockets.
Simple, though sickening, fact: in comparison to the bulk of the "institutions" which have been recipients of training funds, our very own, beloved, CASA would be considered a world leader in accountability, value-for-money and productivity!)

NB: I believe that many people in the WA scene are familiar with Edith Cowan, their modus operandi and the "quality" of some of their taxpayer-funded students.

PS: Its been a long while since self-paying students have been "just the rich" ... they're more often people prepared to actually work to pay for things (like training), rather than expect their entitlements! Easier to train, easier to employ, too, if you ask me.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 03:57
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Kyle, in regards to the "Shortage" or the increase in the number of Pilots required in the world, no offence but GU have been peddling that sort of crud in some form or another for some time now, back when I went there for a semester it was all about the Qlink Cadetship spots they had reserved for their students, whilst not exactly "Incorrect" it's certainly not the full story, there will always be shortages but they will be specific to particular areas, not across the board and you'll find the Europeans and to a slightly lesser extent the Americans are in much better positions to fulfill most of those spots due to the type of training they do (Ie, CPL + Airbus or Boeing Type Ratings) and their job pathways. Personally I got the heck out of there (GU) and could not have been happier with my decision.

The others have it fairly spot on in regards to HECS/VET Feel Help with Aviation, I've seen some of the Students over the years that have come out and given up very quickly when they realise the challenges required to be overcome in starting in this Industry. Whilst I'm all for giving those without the money to pay for it all upfront the opportunity, HECS/Vet Fee Help is not the only way, I personally had to take out a bank loan against my family house and pay it back myself, that was fairly good motivation and alot of others do it over longer periods of time or work for a couple of years first and don't end up with massive HECS/Vet Fee Help debts, Government Debt is the quick and dirty way of doing it IMHO. People have been getting into Aviation for almost 100years before the government started paying for it for us.

In regards to the being paid in Arrears part, that wouldn't have been a major issue with an institution like AAA (Or rather shouldn't have been), they were around before the GU stuff in other forms, their downfall was the usual for such a place and the way it was, pie in the sky ideas and trying to move too far too fast, been plenty of examples of that sort of thing all over Australia and I'm sure the rest of the world, some of their Management also had less than enviable reputations when it came to running the business and motivating their staff.

I should point out that these are my own personal musings based on my personal experiences in Aviation and in particular Archerfield and GU, though I'm sure there is a lot more to it all, there ALWAYS is in Aviation, too many egos often get in the way of doing things properly.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 04:07
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Remaining Royals

To Answer Ex Griffo

The remaining Royals from the 1920s and 30s
Royal Victoria Aero Club
Royal Newcastle Aero Club
Royal Aero Club of Western Australia

The Tasmania Aero Club, which also formed in that era as a State Aero Club but never took up the Royal prefix, also still survives.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 04:57
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Not sure I'm happy for taxes to be paying for someone to "follow a dream" unless that dream is going to contribute to a real need in society.

Apart from people in the medical field, I'm struggling to think of any other training I want to subsidise...particularly if it means my business is subsidising a competitor who will lure away potential customers with the Great Lie about a "looming pilot shortage" (I remember hearing that back in the 80s and it's still not true) and then go broke, endangering those remaining operators who still have enough ethics not to use gullible students as a ponzi scheme and had the sense to stay away from those kind of contracts in the first place.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 07:08
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Thankyou Mr Seagull.

(Not 'ex' Griffo.....yet....)

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Old 26th Mar 2016, 09:26
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KyleTheAviator said:

I disagree with this. Its made it possible for anyone, no matter their personal financial circumstances, to follow their career dreams. Just like HECS makes it possible for anyone intelligent enough to become a doctor or lawyer. These professions should be achievable by all, not just the rich.
Kyle, I agree with your sentiment. However, the harsh reality is that providing a nearly $100,000 loan to a huge number of young Australians who will be competing for an incredibly small number of jobs, thus harbouring little chance of repaying said loan, is simply poor economic management. The unreasonably high number of VET-FEE HELP funded CPL students is a result of "education providers" peddling the idea to the government that fresh 150 hour CPLs are in demand by the industry... this is not true.

Yes, we are all entitled to follow our favoured path but government loans can not be indiscriminately allocated to individual dreams, there must be a competitive process of selection that maintains society's interests. For aviation, just like in medicine as you say, this has to be in the form of a strict number of government-funded student places that are allocated by merit. I guarantee you that producing more junior doctors right now will not improve specialist-level care, which is what we need, but will only bottleneck specialist training programs and impoverish hospitals with even larger junior doctor to specialist ratios. This is akin to providing so many fresh CPLs that nobody can get an entry-level job and progress professionally/technically to a point where their skills might be in demand.

This imbalance in government-funded cohort size to industry demand is a problem facing many areas of tertiary education from engineering to business; it is not just limited to aviation. Yet, the disproportionate cost of flight training to any other course, has created a unique bubble of funding for the big flight schools. Once the government awoke to this imbalance (which it just recently did after the VET-FEE HELP fiascoes in other fields), they began to limit the cohort sizes that they'll provide loans to. This effectively bursts the bubble that has protected AAA, Basair and others for so long... it was only a matter of time and now we see the consequences as RQAC group ceases trading. This is a sad event indeed.

Last edited by Cuban Eight; 27th Mar 2016 at 18:42.
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