Qantas is reviewing the future of its Avalon maintenance facility as it winds down its Boeing 747 fleet and consolidates its heavy operations maintenance operations in Brisbane.
The Oneworld carrier conducts heavy maintenance on its 747s at Avalon, as well as some cabin refurbishments and other ad-hoc maintenance tasks on its 737s and 767s. However, because the airline operates just 15 747s and as this figure will fall to 10 in the next three years, Qantas says Avalon has become “sub-scale and inefficient.”
“Over the next few years we will have periods of up to three months at a time when there will be no maintenance work in the hangars at Avalon,” says Qantas domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi. “In fact, there will be no scheduled maintenance for the equivalent of five months each year for the next four years, starting in March 2014.”
Strambi adds that the carrier is in consultations with 59 staff members and 253 contractors that will continue until the end of October, and will make a decision on the facility’s future after that.
Qantas announced in May 2012 that it intended to consolidate all of its heavy maintenance operations in Brisbane, where it conducts heavy maintenance on Airbus A330s and 767s. Earlier this year, it moved the 737 heavy maintenance to Brisbane from its previous base at Melbourne Tullamarine airport.
However, Qantas announced recently that its budget subsidiary Jetstar will open a new maintenance and training base to support its incoming fleet of 14 787s. The airline will take delivery of its first 787 in September.
Strambi says that the carrier still intends to conduct the majority of its maintenance in Australia.
“Qantas is the only major airline which does heavy maintenance at its own facilitates in Australia, and this will continue to be the case into the future.”