The Qantas Group will invest an additional A$30 million ($31.2 million) in its Brisbane heavy maintenance facility.

The work will start immediately and an existing line maintenance hangar will be converted into a facility capable of handling three lines of maintenance, says Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

"This includes new aircraft docking systems, safety equipment, new hangar doors and improvements to the hangar exterior," he adds.

The company has also started the recruitment of 30 apprentices to work at its Brisbane maintenance facility.

The investment is part of a strategy Qantas announced in May 2012 that involves closing two of its three Australian heavy maintenance centres - Melbourne Tullamarine and Avalon near Geelong - and consolidating maintenance at single facility in Brisbane.

A total of 500 jobs will be lost as a result of the consolidation, said Qantas when it announced the restructuring, but will result in annual savings between A$70million and A$100 million.

Maintenance operations for Boeing 737 aircraft at Melbourne's Tullamarine have already ceased, while Avalon continues to support the carrier's Boeing 747 fleet.

"Brisbane is the obvious candidate to become our one heavy maintenance site, given the purpose built hangars and modern equipment," says Joyce.

Joyce also adds that the carrier would invest A$70 million to upgrade its catering facilities at Brisbane airport. The carrier is in the process of consolidating catering at four airports namely Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news