Qantas, meanwhile, says that it has spent six weeks “looking in detail at all options to address the shortfall of maintenance,” including the ALAEA plan involving leave without pay. However, the carrier notes that “in assessing the ALAEA’s proposal, we are faced with the question of how this solves the problem that there is no work in the hangar for around five months each year for the next four years.”
“The [Avalon] facility has become sub-scale because of the gradual retirement of our Boeing 747 fleet which [is] being replaced by new aircraft which require less maintenance,” Qantas says. “No business could afford to ignore these realities.”
Qantas has previously indicated that it wants to eventually streamline its heavy maintenance activities to one facility, and it appears that Brisbane is the favored location. Another heavy maintenance base, the Tullamarine facility at Melbourne Airport, was closed in 2012.