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More maintenance jobs go as Qantas continues engineering restructure

written by WOFA | November 8, 2012

Qantas is cutting a further 400 maintenance positions.

Qantas has announced further maintenance staff job losses as its Avalon base, a reduction in line maintenance positions at Sydney, and cuts at Qantas Defence Services with the loss of RAAF C-130H maintenance work, although 120 positions are also being created in Brisbane.

With the winding up of a program to refurbish nine 747-400s with new A380-style interiors this month, Qantas says it is “releasing” 250 Forstaff contractors, plus “a small number” of Qantas staff who work at its Avalon heavy maintenance base, while the 200 line maintenance positions at Sydney will go due to “overstaffing”. Meanwhile, 45 Qantas Defence Services employees will be retrenched as maintenance on the RAAF’s C-130H Hercules fleet winds up with the C-130H being retired from service later this month.

The creation of the 120 new positions at Brisbane follows the May announcement that the airline was shutting its Melbourne Tullamarine maintenance base and moving 737 maintenance to Brisbane. Qantas says these 120 new jobs are in addition to the 100 positions created at Brisbane since May, plus the current recruitment of 30 apprentices.

In all the airline says the changes mean net job losses of 400 positions.

For now at least, Qantas will continue to maintain its 747 fleet at Avalon. “Avalon will continue to maintain Qantas’s fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft. Ultimately, Qantas will consolidate to one Australian heavy maintenance base though no timeline has been set,” the airline said in a statement.

A spokesman subsequently explained to AA that: “Brisbane is the obvious candidate to become our one heavy maintenance site, given the purpose built hangars and modern equipment.”

The airline will also consolidate engineering training facilities from Melbourne to Sydney.


“Our cost base in heavy maintenance is more than 30 per cent per cent higher than our competitors, who do the vast majority of their maintenance overseas. We must close this gap to secure Qantas’s future viability and this restructure will assist in making Qantas maintenance facilities in Australia more competitive,” Qantas Domestic chief executive Officer Lyell Strambi said.

“Qantas will continue to make further changes to our engineering division as newer technology and improved processes enable us to become more efficient.”

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) took another view: “In our view, the current levels of understaffing are becoming dangerous and Qantas management are disregarding basic laws of aviation safety,” ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas said in a statement. “This needs to stop or Qantas risks becoming an unsafe operator.”

Qantas says it rejects “outright” the ALAEA claims.

“Qantas remains the only airline to have its own heavy aircraft maintenance facilities in Australia and employs around 5,000 people in its engineering division,” the airline said.

Qantas says “where possible” it will offer existing employees relocation assistance to Brisbane or redeployment elsewhere in the airline.


  • avalon worker


    If Qantas Management truly believe that a repainted and new interior plane is a new plane then god save us all because they canceled all the new planes to save money and then stated that new planes do not need the maintenance.

  • Ben


    Cancelled the 787s was one of the dumbest decisions ever. I know they still have options… But that’s purely what they are. There is no guarantee they will ever actually take them.

    Virgin has ticked so many boxes and Qantas continues to get some many crossed.

    When will they get rid of Alan Joyce and his team

  • Josh


    Qantas has been killed off by management. The airline sporting the flying kangaroo is no more Qantas than a Vespa is a motorbike.

  • John Harrison


    I’ve really run out of words to say about Qantas, (& I worked for them 25 years plus in Australia & 7 years in UK) I just hate the way Mr Joyce and Co (The Board) are ruining this great company. I know alot of what has been said about maintanence has to be done, and there is truth in there somewhere. Why doesn’t the company look at ways of saving the jobs, not just getting rid of all these highly trained staff. Beats the hell of me to understand it.

  • air1


    its called change and money! i know management are crap and i don’t agree with all they do but things need to change other wise there will be no Qantas left for anyone to work at! they are competing against low cost airlines and they cant keep doing it with all the money they are paying these dinosaur contracts! its change and people need to learn to accept change!!

  • James from Sydney


    I thought this web site was for aviation enthusiasts. There are other forums on the web for union members and union leaders wanting to bash corporations. Enough already.

  • Steven


    James its not about union members or union leaders.
    Yes Alan Joyce had to cut the fat somewhere. But he is reducing qantas to scrap. Shacking up with emirates is a bad idea. No matter how they spin it. I believe in the end they will steal most QF routes anyway. There is no way EK will allow QF to operate onwards to other European destinations from Dubai. It would be at their own expense. More spin from Joyce.
    And as for the 65% line in the sand market share. He needs to grow up and stop wasting money on expanding what is an already overloaded market and spend that money instead on the product.

    Borghetti must be grinning ear to ear

  • Craig


    You are right Steven
    Borghetti is on the right track. As he said he isn’t looking for market share. He wants the best quality product and the best frequency for travelers.

  • Paule


    How different would QANTAS be if Borghetti got the top job instead of Joyce? Sure profits need to be made but Public Relations need to be paramount also. This, yet again is a disaster for QANTAS’s position in the community. Time and time again the decision mystifies people following the aviation industry. OK, as has been said before, if the maintenance on new planes is so much lower, where are the new age planes? Where will the 787 be? That’s if there is any airline left in the foreseeable future. It’s time I sold the QANTAS shares I have out of loyalty, used up all my FF Points on Cathay and just cut my losses and fly SQ and AZ across the globe.

  • Dane


    You get what you pay for, Qantas. Overseas maintenance may be cheap but its quality, or lack there of, will be evident very clearly.

  • M


    Does ‘heavy aircraft’ maintenance refer to wide bodies? Where does virgin maintain their a330s?

  • Aido


    Virgin outsource their maintenance to John Holland engineering in Melbourne for their A330s.

  • George


    Heavy maintenance applies to all aircraft even A320 and B737. It is a complete check inside and out of every single component of an aircraft requiring weeks of work

  • V1


    Alan Joyce was one of the architects on the collapse of Ansett… now he’s doing the same to Qantas.

  • stuart


    Airlines are saying they are sending aircraft O/S due to over flow or the cost of the labour is cheaper. Maybe we should look at some countries where they require to source the work in their country first. Well John Holland is waiting for work

  • Gail Margaret


    At least Qantas is trying to keep maintenance in Australia which provides jobs in Australia. Other airlines are going off-shore for maintenance and refurbishment. The only way to keep the work in Australia is to keep costs as reasonable as possible.

  • George


    John Holland is too expensive. I know of an airline who recently had an aircrafts heavy manintenance done in the USA. It was half the price of what John Holland quoted

  • richard


    The ex CEO of ANZ, Rob Fyfe best summed it up…….”I look after the staff, the staff looks after the passengers and the passengers look after the shareholders”

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