Qantas Statement on Aircraft Maintenance

Sydney, 02 August 2007

Qantas has rejected allegations by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) that overseas maintenance of some of its aircraft was compromising safety.

The Executive General Manager of Qantas Engineering, Mr David Cox, said the wiring issues identified on two of its aircraft, which had been used by the ALAEA to make this case, did not compromise the safety of the aircraft in any way.

"We did not need the ALAEA to bring this matter to our attention. Our own rigorous audit and maintenance program is what identified these issues and - as is normal practice at Qantas with any quality issue - we immediately involved CASA and put in place an inspection and rectification program," he said.

"I can only surmise that the union is using this issue - which it knows very well has no safety implications - to try to pressure Qantas to accede to its demands on pay and work practices.

"The fact is that we apply the same strict safety standards to all of our engineering work, regardless of provider or location, and every provider we use is certified by Qantas and by CASA.

"If the ALAEA is suggesting that only Australian engineers can maintain aircraft, it is wrong - the world's best airlines undertake their heavy maintenance in a range of locations outside Australia.

"Qantas Engineering is trying hard to build an efficient and competitive business in Australia to ensure work stays in this country.

"In fact, about 90 per cent of our heavy maintenance continues to be undertaken in Australia and we have invested more than $300 million in engineering facilities and training in the last five years for this purpose.

"We do, however, reserve the right to position our engineering work anywhere in the world."

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3634)