AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES of Australia (ASTA) plans to lay off a quarter of its Aircraft Services division workforce, as the Government continues to struggle to find a buyer for the state-owned company.

The announcement of 200 redundancies follows ASTA Aircraft Services' recent failure to win an important Airbus A300-B4 maintenance contract from Qantas, together with the loss of its Polar Air work to Singapore Airlines.

The Avalon based company is reportedly left with contracts for work on only five or six aircraft.

Australian Federal Government plans call for the privatisation of ASTA as part of a wider sell-off of state-owned companies, including Qantas. The company's Aircraft Services division, though, has so far failed to attract any potential buyers.

Qantas is now being pressed by the Government to take control of ASTA Aircraft Services, to ensure its survival. The airline, is busy preparing for its own privatisation and is thought reluctant, to take on responsibility for the maintenance company.

Source: Flight International