Qantas Airways has confirmed the maintenance of its 747 fleet of 15 planes will be taken offshore, with initial maintenance to be carried out in Hong Kong
National carrier Qantas says the maintenance of its ageing Boeing 747 fleet will be carried out offshore after it closes its Avalon base in March.
Qantas Airways confirmed it will begin a tender process to maintain the company’s fleet of 15 aircraft long-term after sending two aircraft to Hong Kong for heavy maintenance later this year.
The announcement comes two months after the airline announced the Avalon facility in Victoria would close, resulting in 300 job losses.
Still, Qantas says it will continue to do heavy maintenance on the majority of its aircraft at its facility in Brisbane, which recently received a $30 million upgrade.
Qantas says maintenance in Hong Kong will be carried out by providers which work for global airlines Cathay Pacific, United and Delta.
“We will begin a rigorous tender process to choose a suitable maintenance provider to maintain our Boeing 747 fleet for the long-term,” Qantas International Head of Engineering Alan Milne said in a statement.
He said the airline was committed to engineering and maintenance in Australia and would continue to do the majority in Australia.
In 2004, Qantas had 36 Boeing 747 aircraft in its fleet which were maintained at Avalon.
But now there are 15 planes and in three years there will be 10 as the company’s new aircraft are delivered.
Qantas said it does heavy maintenance on more than 110 aircraft at the Brisbane facility, including its fleet of Boeing 737s, Boeing 767s and Airbus A330s.
The Avalon base closure in March means layoffs for 53 Qantas employees and 246 contractors with Forstaff Aviation.
It follows 263 redundancies at the site announced a year ago and the closure of the Tullamarine heavy maintenance facility, which resulted in 422 job losses.
The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has said maintenance facilities were available in Australia and shipping the work to Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore would raise safety concerns.
It’s another blow for the struggling Geelong region, following the decision by Ford to close its Geelong plant in 2016, costing 510 jobs; Target slashing about 200 jobs; and Shell flagging the sale of its Geelong refinery, threatening some 450 local jobs.