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AWU says Qantas decision to offshore 747 maintenance “short sighted”

written by WOFA | January 25, 2014

The AWU describes Qantas's move to send 747 maintenance offshore as "short sighted and lazy". (Andrew McLaughlin)
The AWU describes Qantas’s move to send 747 maintenance offshore as “short sighted and lazy”. (Andrew McLaughlin)

The Australian Workers Union has described Qantas’s decision to send heavy maintenance work for its remaining 747s offshore as “short sighted, lazy and unnecessary.”

In a January 21 statement, the AWU said options still exist for the airline to perform the maintenance locally. “Even given Qantas’ intention to move 747 maintenance out of Avalon, the company has a range of options to keep that work in Australia,” AWU National Vice President Daniel Walton said. “Maintenance facilities in both Sydney and Brisbane have the available slots to perform this work in Australia at a world class standard, as it has always been done. We have engineers in this country with the skills to keep doing this job and doing it well.

Australian engineers have been performing maintenance on these aircraft since Qantas’ first 747 went into operation in 1971.”

“(The) decision is simply a case of lazy management,” he added. “Instead of working with Australian operations to slot 747 maintenance into existing facilities, they have simply pulled the offshoring ripcord.”

Mr Walton added that the decision doesn’t make sense while the airline is asking for government assistance to remain viable, saying, “If Qantas management is trying to convince Australians they deserve a helping hand, they might want to try meeting Australians halfway when it comes to acting like a responsible corporate citizen.”


  • Lorenzo Moschetta


    It’s not a huge surprise seeing Qantas removing its 747 maintanance base at Avalon, since the airline is gradually retiring its fleet of the type. However, sending the maintenance offshore can be seen as an absurd since there are qualified material whether in Brisbane or in Sydney. I am not an expert in the subject, but I don’t see sending the aircraft offshore as cheaper or anything, because Qantas has made some changes in the whole company. From services and space between seats to change of aircraft on specials routes (such as Sydney/Melbourne to Hobart being operated by Qantaslink when once it was operated by Qantas) Qantas has made some cuts on spendings since it is passing through a rough and delicated phase. But asking help from the government and at the same time hurting the economy, I don’t see a qualified answer from Qantas.

  • stevetadelaide


    Incredible how it became unviable for Qantas to retain Avalon as a maintenance base, from memory I think the terminology was “sub-scale”. I fail to understand why planning wasnt put in place at time of ordering the A380, now over 10 years ago to also expand avalon to perform its maintenance there. Today we hear and read that avalon has become no longer viable as “the 747 fleet has been reduced in size”. It just seems to me that Qantas management have been carefully planning and manipulating circumstances to help create this crisis that they now suddenly find themselves facing and want us taxpayers to assist in resolving. …..Just rambling a bit now: Virgin were allowed to separate the domestic and international parts of their business it works for them. Jetstar seems to be oh so wonderful why doesnt it take over all QF domestic and international flights and Qantas becomes just a holding company that does all flying under the jetstar brand. Last ramble: How could Qantas not make the business model for the 777ER when so many others can and succeed very nicely with it??? What about the new variants, they will be awesome in service, and good moneymakers for their operators. Finished now.

  • bob


    I look forward to off shoring management so bring it on!

  • Matt


    Disagree Bob Australia needs strong skills. What’s going to happen when we don’t have skilled work force! I.m not a unionist but worried about the lack of skills that we already have.

  • Dee


    Matt, in a few years we will have an excess of Ford and Holden mechanics available for these jobs !!

  • John


    unions have stuffed Qantas. Very overpaid & very underworked employees.

  • John Harrison


    Here we go again, as everyone else said, (well most people) how can Qantas management close a base that does all the Boeing 747 servicing, when they still a good few in the fleet. They B747’s should have still be serviced at Avalon. Fully agree with someone who said Qantas should have thought ahead so they could maintain the service’s on the Airbus 380s. Its all a cheap get out by the senior Qantas management. Also as per a few other
    people I don’t see Qantas’s name on list for the upcoming B777x Are they going to miss the boat (well Boeing 777s again !!)

  • Tiw


    “short sighted, lazy and unnecessary.” Very applicable for many members of the AWU

  • louievandeoorst


    John you`re spot on.Australian workers are simply to expensive thanks to unions.So Qantas can just join rest of industry…in Asia.
    And remember..they are not so cheep but we are to expensive and overrated.Even farmers can not make a living growing potatoes anymore.Sad,really sad.Its not about Qantas management but about management of this country.

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