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Brisbane "obvious candidate" for Qantas maintenance
19/10/2012 - Qantas will spend $30 million upgrading its Brisbane heavy maintenance facility and hire up to 30 new apprentices in the Queensland capital. Jordan Chong
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The move suggests Brisbane is the favourite to emerge as Qantas' sole heavy maintenance base, as the airline moves to consolidate its existing three facilities into one.
Joyce said while the airline still had no set timeline for when it would finalise the consolidation, work was well underway.
"Brisbane is the obvious candidate to become our one heavy maintenance site, given the purpose-built hangars and modern equipment," he told an Australian Institute of Company Directors lunch in Brisbane on Thursday.
Built in 2004 with the assistance of the Queensland government, Brisbane is Qantas' newest heavy maintenance facility.
Joyce said $30 million would be spent transforming an existing line maintenance hangar into a facility capable of supporting up to three lines of maintenance.
"This includes new aircraft docking systems, safety equipment, new hangar doors and improvements to the hangar exterior," he said.
The 30 apprentices would also be hired as part of Qantas's engineering and maintenance program in Brisbane.
Qantas announced in May it was closing its heavy maintenance facility at Tullamarine in Victoria, with the loss of 422 jobs.
The move was designed to help the troubled airline save up to $100 million a year.
The decision to consolidate its operations has cast doubts over the future of Qantas' third heavy maintenance site, at Avalon Airport just outside Geelong in Victoria.
A heavy maintenance check involves an aircraft being stripped down for inspection, including among other things having all seats and interiors removed, engines taken apart and systems thoroughly tested.
The process can take several weeks for one aircraft.
Meanwhile, Joyce said the proposed Qantas-Emirates alliance, which was before the competition regulator, had the potential to deliver "huge dividends" for Queensland, particularly in terms of inbound tourism.
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