Qantas will close its Boeing 747 heavy maintenance operation in Sydney by May with the loss of 480 jobs. The airline hopes to reduce this figure to around 340 through redeployment.

The move is a short-term reprieve for maintenance and engineering employees, with a possible 2,500 jobs on the line if Qantas had opted to move work offshore. However, chief executive Geoff Dixon warns that a long-term commitment to retain maintenance within Australia depends on the airline’s ability to make its maintenance operations competitive with global maintenance repair and overhaul providers.

The airline will transfer heavy maintenance of its 747s to Avalon, Victoria. Heavy maintenance on Boeing 767s will remain at the airline’s new Brisbane facility. Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 maintenance will be conducted in-house if the airline can achieve its restructuring targets, says Dixon.

Source: Flight International