A plan for the future
of Australian aircraft
maintenance engineeringMESSAGE FROM
Planning our future at Qantas
Nothing captures the imagination of travellers like aviation. The appeal of passenger aircraft is testament to the engineering behind their technology. And keeping this technology in the air are highly skilled maintenance engineers. Over the years our national carrier Qantas has built up a reputation as an aviation industry leader, with engineers who are ranked alongside the world’s best.
Across the country, engineers work at some of the largest and most sophisticated technical facilities in the southern hemisphere. These locations are hives of activity around the clock. While most people are asleep, engineers perform quality checks and repairs to ensure the safety and performance of Qantas aircraft. But it is a challenging industry in which to operate. Increased competition from Asia in the form of reduced labour costs make sub-contracting engineering work out to overseas competitors an attractive option for airlines looking to cut costs in the short-term.
Maintenance engineering in Australia is facing turbulent times, but with a commitment from Qantas to ensure our future viability we believe Qantas can establish itself as a centre of maintenance engineering excellence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Recent news that Qantas plans to review its heavy maintenance operations across Australia is of great concern to its highly-skilled engineers and maintenance workers.
Our Alliance represents the biggest three engineering unions in aviation – AWU, AMWU and ETU, representing aircraft maintenance engineers.
These jobs are vital for the long-term health of our industry. And that’s why we’re committed to working with our members and Qantas on a long-term plan to ensure future opportunities for the next generation of aircraft engineers. Our three asks include guaranteeing heavy maintenance remains on-shore, establishing a working group to ensure the future of heavy maintenance in Australia and to maintain existing and plan for the future of heavy maintenance facilities.
ETU National Secretary
AWU National Secretary
AMWU National Secretary
Dave OliverOUR FUTURE AT QANTAS A PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIAN AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE ENGINEERING State of the industry
Due to Australia’s location, Qantas has traditionally maintained its fleet domestically.
The airline’s engineers have established Qantas as an industry leader in engineering excellence but now the carrier is at a crossroads with upcoming retirements and purchases for its fleet. Qantas will buy 110-plus A320 aircraft in the next few years for service with Jetstar and Qantas’ new subsidiary. In the next decade the group will receive more than 10 A380, 32 B737 and 50 B787 to add to its regular fleet. The Alliance is seeking a commitment from Qantas that all new aircraft be maintained in Australia throughout the life of the aircraft.
Internationally, airlines face either maintaining their own aircraft or farming it out to third-party contractors. Those that maintain aircraft in-house – such as the highly successful Lufthansa Technik – see business opportunities in their maintenance business divisions and expanding third party work.
These decisions ensure high-tech skills, which are lost over time if not fostered.
While changes exist that Qantas engineers must adapt to, the company – with backing from Australian governments – must plan for engineering opportunities to thrive to insure against irreversible losses of jobs and skills.
Otherwise, other governments and companies around the world will take up any engineering opportunities that Qantas abandons.
Australia faces the very real prospect of losing our aircraft maintenance capability; the loss of our skilled aviation engineers would not just be a body blow to the domestic industry but a...