Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss says it would not make sense for an Australian-based facility to continue maintenance on Qantas’ dwindling 747 fleet.
Qantas’ decision to move the maintenance of its ageing Boeing 747 fleet offshore was inevitable, Warren Truss says.
The acting prime minister says the government has also raised changing laws to allow foreign ownership to make up more than 49 per cent of the national carrier, but it would not pass through the Senate.
Mr Truss says it was a pity Qantas this week announced a tender process to maintain the company’s dwindling fleet of 15 aircraft long-term.
However, he said an Australian maintenance facility was not viable, given Qantas’ plans to reduce it’s 747 fleet to just eight.
“You can’t operate a major maintenance facility for only eight aircraft,” Mr Truss told reporters in Brisbane.
“These aircraft have served Australia well over the years, but they’re reaching retirement age.
“You can’t keep the services operating when there are no aircraft.”
Mr Truss said the government was willing to look at a change in laws restricting Qantas foreign ownership, but he did not think they would be successful.
“My assessment is it would not be possible at the current time to get changes in the law through the senate,” he said.
“We continue to work with Qantas to find the best way for the company to develop and be prosperous … (but) ultimately they’ll be responsible for their own destiny.”
Mr Truss said he welcomed Qantas’ moves to keep itself viable.
Qantas’ announcement came two months after the airline announced the Avalon facility in Victoria would close, resulting in 300 job losses.
But Qantas said it would continue to do heavy maintenance on the majority of its aircraft at its facility in Brisbane, which recently received a $30 million upgrade.