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Qantas employing 100 apprentice engineers

Qantas Airways is increasing its engineering workforce now that it is bringing Airbus A330 heavy maintenance work in-house.

The Oneworld carrier's CEO, Alan Joyce, says they will be employing 100 engineering apprentices who will start in February.

These new "apprentice positions will be spread over three Qantas engineering facilities - Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney - and will train in specialisations such as avionics, aircraft mechanical and aircraft structures."

"The growth of the apprentice programme complements the announcement in April that Qantas will bring heavy maintenance of its A330 fleet onshore" and the work will be "carried out at its Brisbane heavy maintenance facility from early 2010".

"Every year we spend more than A$1.4 billion ($1.24 billion) on the maintenance of our fleet with approximately half of that spent on high tech jobs in Australia and the remainder on aircraft parts and services," he says.

"In 2010, we will perform 92% of our aircraft heavy maintenance checks here in Australia."

Qantas has 5,700 employees in its engineering division.

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association Federal Secretary, Steve Purvinas, told ATI yesterday - prior to the announcement - that one of the concerns the union had was that Qantas in recent times has failed to add to its engineering workforce.

He says Qantas needs to have more engineers so it can handle more aircraft maintenance work.

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