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Qantas 747 maintenance to move offshore

written by WOFA | January 22, 2014

Qantas 747 heavy maintenance will head offshore once its Avalon facility closes in March. (Andrew McLaughlin)
Qantas 747 heavy maintenance will head offshore once its Avalon facility closes in March. (Andrew McLaughlin)

Qantas has announced that heavy maintenance of its remaining 747-400 airliners will move offshore once its Avalon heavy maintenance facility near Geelong closes in March.

In a January 21 statement, the airline said; “We indicated when we announced the closure of our Avalon maintenance base that maintenance on our Boeing 747 aircraft may need to be done by one of the specialist global maintenance providers, as there are no suitable facilities in Australia.”

The airline says while it will send two 747s to Hong Kong for maintenance checks later this year, it will also begin a “rigorous tender process to choose a suitable maintenance provider to maintain our Boeing 747 fleet for the long-term.”

The move comes after the retirement of a large proportion of the airline’s older 747-400 fleet which the airline says has meant Avalon has become a “sub-scale maintenance facility.” The airline had operated 36 747-300s and 747-400/-400ERs at its peak, but today just nine 747-400s and six 747-400ERs remain, and this number will further reduce to a total of just 10 aircraft by 2017.

Qantas will continue to perform heavy maintenance in Australia on “the majority of (its) aircraft” such as Boeing 737s, 767s and Airbus A330s, but says where it’s fleets are “small or sub-scale”, it is not “economic to do this work at our facilities in Australia.”


  • Raymond


    Shame to see yet another good facility lost, however when small numbers are involved you need to be sensible and this is fair enough.

    At least Jetstar’s 787 maintenance will be conducted in Melbourne.

  • Rob Eastwood


    ?? QANTAS IS GLOBALLY …FAMOUS for it’s incredible MAINTENANCE , and SAFETY record, it was even mentioned in the Dustin Hoffman/Tom Cruise movie-Rainman, and people were happy to pay the extra fare for peace of mind for their Family safety.!!

    Why remove the very thing that made them stand out???, Winning many many awards, producing a higher quality level, respectable brand, putting respect for Australian services higher. NOW ??
    To send the maintenance to a low level, unsafe – cheap class facility, just moves the Qantas brand to that of the “cheapie” low (cost) level (CRAP) carriers….Good one Senior management..!

  • craig simpson


    Not to mention that Qantas is going to get rid of it’s 747’s eventually due to their poor fuel consumption and noise issues vs the 380.

  • Chris Grealy


    You’re doing a heckuva job Joycie! Why don’t we outsource the Executive and Board positions from Hong Kong as well? There’s savings to be made!

  • Stu Bee


    Its very sad that whenever Qantas maintenance is mentioned the good old chestnut of “Rainman” gets used…

    Sad to say but the economics of keeping 744 heavy maintenance in Australia isn’t viable – the remaining scheduled work for these aircraft can not support the workforce. To say that aircraft maintenance undertaken overseas is unsafe is just ridiculous and inflammatory.

    It never gets much of a mention that the A380’s are very labour intensive and the majority of their work is undertaken in the Philippines… OMG! they must be unsafe!!!!!!

  • Mike D


    Having recently been on VH-OJC to Bangkok, i was able to see first hand a tired old 747-400 interior, (i thought maybe some tips had been sought from a 1970’s Aeroflot). No USB facility, and a small fuzzy screen the best that it got. I did wonder about the future of QF internationally, and the with respect to company culture, some of the staff on board clearly appeared over their jobs. There is so much competition, and, as sad it has become, there are just better options out there in and out of Australia.

  • John


    Qantas has a well deserved reputation for aircraft maintenance.

    However the reality is, labour is cheaper in.SE Asia, as shown by were a lot of Australian companies get their goods produced.
    Like Qantas, Lufthansa has a great reputation for maintenance, Lufthansa decided to export this excellence and set up joint ventures in Asia, eg Ameco Beijing, pity Qantas had not done the same, with Qantas aircraft types to be maintained there only when the numbers dropped below an agreed number, that made a dedicated facility in Australia unviable.
    With the excellent reputation Qantas has for its maintenance, a joint venture maintenance and training centre in Asia would have been, and still could be a money spinner for the Airline

  • db


    Time Line
    B747 Maintenance in Sydney late 70’s 80’s & 90’s
    Qantas actually did contract work for foreign airlines in Sydney.
    The cost to maintain there own fleet – zero
    Where are those managers? – retired – without BIG BONUSES like today.

    The past twenty years has seen a management hell bent on the health of their salaries and bonuses.
    Look what they have done to the icon of the skies.
    Reduced its rating to junk status by the financial world.

    Alan Joyce and the rest of the management should be paid on performance, sorry they are.
    How is their bonus calculated?
    It’s about time an independent umpire did a full review of what used to be the World’s best.

    Greed, will see the demise of Qantas.

  • Andrew


    I have flown and been a member of QANTAS since my first flight in 1991 and have like other people who have posted in this thread been conditioned to return because of the safety record held by this airline which is a tremendous accomplishment. It is an unsettling sign of the times when it is less expensive to outsource this work to maintenance facilities that unfortunately will undoubtably have a poorer track record and should be held accountable for the current safety standard that this new facility (when chosen) holds.
    It is also unnerving that now due to recent decisions in QANTAS policies and pricing practices that the cost is increasing and now with the miles expiring making the long International flights from the United States means that membership is not what it use to be with no apparent reward for choosing this safer higher priced option.
    It is unfortunate that bids to other airline maintenance contracts cannot be tendered at this facility increasing the workload and making it again viable once more. I was planning on a flight back from Dallas to Brisbane and I usually fly premium economy but not in a 747. I think it’s time I sign up for Etihad/Emirates/Virgin. I hope you accept my apology as to why I won’t fly QANTAS anymore. It was grand while it lasted…. respectfully, a concerned paying customer…

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