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Qantas today announced its fleet of 30 Airbus A330 aircraft will have new cabin interiors installed at its Brisbane heavy maintenance and engineering facility.
Qantas also announced it is recruiting 30 apprentice engineers, with the majority to be based in Brisbane.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce, who was in Brisbane to officially open the $30 million upgrade to the hangar, said today’s announcements further cements Qantas’ commitment to engineering and maintenance in Australia.
“Qantas is extremely proud of our state-of-the-art Brisbane heavy maintenance facility, which is ideally suited to undertake the upgrade of our Airbus A330 aircraft,” Mr Joyce said.
“From late 2014, we will be upgrading all 30 of our Airbus A330s with Business Suites with fully flat beds. Ten A330-300s for Qantas International will feature new Economy seats and 20 A330-200s for Qantas Domestic will see their Economy seats refurbished.
“It will take around 30 days for each aircraft to get upgraded and we expect the program to be completed in mid-2016.
“The $30 million upgrade to the Brisbane facilities includes the installation of advanced equipment to enable Qantas’ fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft to undergo heavy maintenance in the facility.
“I am also pleased to announce that Qantas is recruiting 30 new engineering apprentices, with over 20 to be based in Brisbane and the remainder in Sydney.
“Qantas has a long and proud history of developing apprentices and investing in training and skills for our people. Over 7000 apprentices have come up through our programs since 1927, with over 160 apprentices in training today.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman welcomed the announcement saying it would generate significant employment and economic opportunities for the local economy.
“Queensland is the spiritual home of Qantas, so it is great to see this commitment to make Brisbane a key hub for its maintenance activities,” Mr Newman said.
“It will create local jobs and provide a significant boost to the Queensland economy, reinforcing this government’s commitment to the tourism and construction industries.”
“Qantas is the only major airline that does heavy maintenance in Australia. We will continue to do the majority of our maintenance in Australia, employing thousands of people.” said Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce said the upgraded A330s will be class-leading and will do the bulk of their flying on key Asian routes and on the domestic east-west market.
“Customers in all parts of the aircraft will notice a significant improvement in comfort when our refreshed A330s start to roll out from the end of 2014,” he said.
Uniquely, the new Business Class seats are designed to be left in a recline position for take-off and landing, maximising the opportunity for rest – a key point of difference between Qantas and other carriers flying to Asia.
In addition to Panasonic inflight entertainment systems, the domestic A330s will be fitted with Qantas’ QStreaming technology, which gives customers access to an extensive entertainment library streamed to devices like iPad’s.
With an average age of 7.9 years, the Qantas fleet is now its youngest since privatisation.