Qantas has announced it has completed a review of its heavy aircraft maintenance and engineering operations in Australia, concluding it will consolidate all heavy maintenance work into Brisbane and Avalon, with all such work finishing at Tullamarine by August.


The announcement is expected to see over 500 positions cut as a result of the company’s restructure, with 422 positions lost at Tullamarine, and 113 positions at Avalon.


“Like the manufacturing industry, aviation maintenance is a labour and capital intensive sector. Our cost base in heavy maintenance is 30 per cent per cent higher than that of our competitors – we must close this gap to secure Qantas’ future viability and success,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.


“Qantas has invested heavily over the past 10 years in new aircraft that are more advanced, more efficient, attractive to our customers and require less maintenance, less often. But we cannot take advantage of this new generation of aircraft if we continue to do heavy maintenance in the same way we did 10 years ago.”


The airline defended its decision to cut down its operations, saying that there is not currently enough heavy maintenance work to necessitate three separate facilities, and that new technology and modern aircraft has contributed to a further 60 per cent reduction in maintenance requirements over the next seven years.


As a result of the restructure, heavy maintenance on Boeing 737 aircraft will move from Tullamarine and be maintained in Brisbane along with B767 aircraft and Airbus A330s. The base at Avalon will continue to maintain Boeing 747s. It will also conduct some work on B737s and B767s, some aircraft reconfiguration work and remain available for one-off maintenace tasks.


The airline anticipates the costs of the restructure, as well as redundancies, will cost an estimated $50 million.