Qantas reverses Dixon’s maintenance outsourcing program

Qantas A330-300 taking off from Sydney

Qantas A330-300 taking off from Sydney

After suffering years of reportedly sub-standard maintenance by overseas contractors, one of former Qantas chief Geoff Dixon’s pet projects was reversed when Qantas announced all of its heavy maintenance work for Airbus A330s will be carried out in Australia.
The Brisbane Heavy Maintenance Facility, where the work will be carried out, employs 510 people and was established in 2005 at a cost of $85 million. Currently, heavy maintenance on the Boeing 767 fleet is carried out at the site.
Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said that flexibilities agreed upon with the facility’s employees meant that, while heavy maintenance on the airline’s A330 fleet had been previously performed overseas, the capability would now be established by Qantas Engineering in Australia.
“We have concluded constructive talks with our Brisbane heavy maintenance employees about the future of our A330 work,” Mr Joyce said. “The flexible arrangements we have come to, as well as the growing scale of the aircraft type in the Qantas fleet, mean that we can now establish A330 heavy maintenance operations in Australia that will be globally competitive and of the highest quality.
Mr Joyce said the outcome would provide a steady workload for the Brisbane Heavy Maintenance Facility into the future.
“To sustain this flow of work, it will be vital that the facility’s operations remain competitive going forward,” he said. “We spend $1.4 billion a year to sustain and improve the operation of our engineering business as part of our unstinting focus on the safety and performance of our aircraft.”
The first A330 heavy maintenance checks to be conducted by Qantas Engineering in Brisbane are planned to commence in early 2010.
The Qantas Group operates a total of 22 A330 aircraft. Jetstar operates six A330-200s while Qantas operates six A330-200s and 10 A330-300s. The Qantas Group is expected to take delivery of another two A330s in the next 12 months.
Qantas has 1,700 people employed in its heavy maintenance business in Australia, located across three sites– Tullamarine and Avalon in Victoria, and in Brisbane. Between 80 and 90 per cent of Qantas aircraft heavy maintenance is now carried out in Australia.

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