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Canberra contractors out of work as Qantas moves jobs offshore

Lachlan Roberts 31 January 2019 27

Qantas is moving jobs offshore, leaving 40 Canberra contractors without a job. File photo.

Around 40 Canberra contractors will be left without work after Qantas decided to move heavy maintenance checks and operations for its Boeing 717 fleet offshore.

Qantas has signed a contract with Singapore-based ST Aerospace to do the heavy maintenance work on their fleet of 20 717s, saying the offshore move was more sustainable and would help reduce repair times.

The decision has left 40 aircraft engineers out of work, although the airline will continue day-to-day maintenance on our B717 aircraft in Canberra, which requires 25 engineers at the Canberra hangar.

Qantas established the Canberra facility in 2015 after a five-year agreement between the ACT Government and QantasLink to bring its 717 fleet to Canberra for heavy maintenance.

Heavy maintenance involves stripping the aircraft and life-limited components, including engines, for detailed inspections and servicing. Maintenance is required for each plane every 18 months.

Qantas said ST Aerospace was approved by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and already did work for Qantas, Jetstar and Qantas Freight. The contract begins in July 2019.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT Government will continue conversations with the airline to bring future jobs to Canberra.

“This is disappointing news for the families involved, although we have been advised that the Qantas group will seek to provide employment options to the impacted staff,” he said.

“We will continue to engage with Qantas on future opportunities at Canberra Airport.”

Former Civil Aviation Safety Authority chairman Dick Smith blamed the decision on rising costs.

“Naturally Qantas is going to go places where it is cheapest and where they can make the most profits,” he told 2CC. “Labour rates in Singapore are about the same here so I believe the decision is due to the incredible red tape costs put on by CASA.

“Qantas is going to fly their planes empty to Singapore for their servicing because it is more economical.”

Mr Smith said it was a tough time to be in the Australian aviation industry and expressed his concern about the plummeting numbers of Australian pilots.

“The last figure I saw said pilot training was down by 30 per cent, which means in future many of our pilots will be coming from Singapore, China or India which to me is also a big problem.”


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27 Responses to Canberra contractors out of work as Qantas moves jobs offshore
Michael Cleland 1:12 am 03 Feb 19

JetStar planes are now the most unreliable things you will fly on. Being a former Ansett worker when I see the way the planes are serviced out of Singapore makes me shake my head. Paint pearling off seats not working properly, even have seen roof lineing held up with tape!!!! You get what you pay for in the end

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 8:31 pm 01 Feb 19

Less and less Australian all the time...

Capital Retro 1:21 pm 01 Feb 19

“And by sustainable, they mean they can pay the overseas workers less, so they sustain their bottom line.”

That’s globalisation at work. Shareholders love it.

Warren Morris Warren Morris 12:17 pm 01 Feb 19

And by sustainable, they mean they can pay the overseas workers less, so they sustain their bottom line.

Meanwhile, 40 Australian workers are now looking for a job.

Spirit of Australia!???

I think not! 😡🙄

Brooke Austin Brooke Austin 9:54 pm 31 Jan 19

Walter Trejo does this effect you?

    Walter Trejo Walter Trejo 9:56 pm 31 Jan 19

    Brooke Austin noop, only people that work for Cobham. They are the people that maintain the 717 aircrafts as pictured.

JC 8:30 pm 31 Jan 19

Yes and no. 2/3rds of the 20 strong 717 fleet are based in WA. So flying to Singaopre isn’t much more than flying to Canberra.

And also a bit of trivia Virgin Australia used to fly Embraer 170 and 190 aircraft which are a similar size to the 717’s QantasLink operates and these were flown to Portugal for maintenance.

So all really comes down to how much cheaper the labor is to offset the extra fuel to fly empty for maintenance.

And finally it’s heavy maintenance which is only done about every 3 years or so.

Capital Retro 5:32 pm 31 Jan 19

Quick And Nasty Try Another Service

John Moulis 4:28 pm 31 Jan 19

I’m not really au fait with the aviation industry but surely flying the planes – empty – to and from Singapore for maintenance would be more costly and result in more wear and tear on the planes than performing the maintenance here. Where are the economies of scale in all this? I would have thought that performing maintenance in the local hangar then taxiing the plane to the nearby runway for the next flight would make a lot more sense and save a lot of money.

Paul Evans Paul Evans 4:04 pm 31 Jan 19

Profits before people.

Scott Humphries Scott Humphries 3:49 pm 31 Jan 19

I'd be curious to know how much the ACT government was subsidising those jobs under the 5 year 'agreement'.

Stephen Roberts Stephen Roberts 3:42 pm 31 Jan 19

Expect nothing less from this company. Any company that wipes out thousands of dollars worth of hard-earned FF points without having the decency to notify you, is to be treated as hostile & despised.

    Rachel Barrett Rachel Barrett 4:26 pm 31 Jan 19

    Stephen Roberts - they didn’t notify you?

    Stephen Roberts Stephen Roberts 12:27 pm 01 Feb 19

    Rachel Barrett - They chose to send an e-mail, which went to junk. They had my mobile No. recorded and did not call / text me. Qantas are famous for doing this > https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/cancer-patient-asking-for-qantass-compassion-after-frequent-flyer-points-wiped-20180105-h0dt74.html

Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 2:36 pm 31 Jan 19

Probably go to China, I won't be flying with them ever again.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 3:23 pm 31 Jan 19

    Roberta Lynne Anning Singapore actually.

    Scott Humphries Scott Humphries 3:48 pm 31 Jan 19

    Who will you fly with, out of interest?

    Stu Cook Stu Cook 4:02 pm 31 Jan 19

    I’m the same... I won’t use Qantas for overseas trips at all.

    And who to use? Take your pick... lots of much better value airlines with better service.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:50 pm 31 Jan 19

    Stu Cook that’s a matter of opinion.

    I was quite happy with the service and price of my family of 4’s trip with Qantas to London last year. They were the cheapest hands down $4800 compared to next cheapest $5700 on Singapore and on board could hardly fault them. Went via Perth on the Dreamliner which i was pleasantly surprised with considering we were flying economy and back on the A380.

Joel Aken Joel Aken 2:33 pm 31 Jan 19

QANTAS "Spirit of Australia"

I.e actually only here in spirit while the jobs go offshore..

Louise Fitzgerald Louise Fitzgerald 2:30 pm 31 Jan 19

"Spirit of Australia".

Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 2:27 pm 31 Jan 19

Well ...what do u expect they dont pay any tax...

Peter McDonald Peter McDonald 2:17 pm 31 Jan 19

So what happens when they have a technical problem at Canberra Airport? Do they just fly in a work shop, or leave it to rot.

Bill Orr Bill Orr 2:17 pm 31 Jan 19

While I am really sympathetic with the plight of these people, the reality is that if you embrace capitalism and consumerism this decision is logical. Australians embrace both wanting to consume at the lowest price while maximising investment returns, but seem unable to recognise and accept it’s consequences.

I hope you’re all employed soon fellas. Especially since unemployment benefits in this country are a cruel, inhumane joke!

Jeff Gadd Jeff Gadd 2:05 pm 31 Jan 19

Joyce must have demanded another salary increase. Jobs have probably gone to Air Asia or Lion Air.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 3:30 pm 31 Jan 19

    Jeff Gadd ST Aerospace in Singapore actually. ST is the largest maintainer or aircraft world wide.

    Out of interest Virgin Australia uses GMF in Jakarta for some (not all) of their 737 heavy maintenance. They are a subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia who also perform maintenance of Air Asia, but not Lion Air.

    Julie Barnes Julie Barnes 6:17 pm 31 Jan 19

    Thankfully I walk everywhere. honestly its the heathly, non politician option. xo

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