Even though Qantas has decided to close its maintenance center at Avalon and many may lose their jobs, there seems to be a bright light at the end of the travel tunnel for consumers.
Today (November November 11, 2013), Qantas announced they would be closing its doors on the Victorian base in March 2014, which maintains some 15 of Boeing‘s 747‘s.
Aviation forecasters say this move could provoke low airfares for travellers.
According to Lyell Strambi, Qantas’ Domestic Chief Executive, since 747s have been slowly withdrawn over the past years, needed maintenance at the Avalon facility over the next four years would have been scarce.
“After reviewing all of the options, the only realistic answer is to close Avalon and have the maintenance performed on our 747s at another facility,” Mr. Strambi said.
Bill Meeke, an independent aviation consultant added, that even though Qantas will lay-off 53 employees and over 245 Forstaff contractors, the move to eliminate Avalon will come as a benefit to travellers.
Mr. Meeke believes by doing away with the bulky and fuel hungry 747, Qantas will utilize aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 which adhere to less maintenance and, will be overall cost effective. Those savings will essentially be transferred into lower fares for flyers.
“Any reduction in cost is likely to provide the airline with a fresh pricing tool,” he said… As long as they can afford to continue to discount, they probably will,” Mr. Meeke said.
Most of all maintenance performed on Qantas’ 747’s will be streamlined through its maintenance Brisbane base or, routed to other less expensive maintenance bases in other countries such as: the U-S, Germany, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Oliver Lamb, Management Director for Pacific Aviation says travellers shouldn’t worry about the Avalon closure as it will not compromise the level of safety and service Qantas offers.
“Qantas has an absolutely outstanding safety record and I have absolute confidence this will be maintained by any provider which will be expected to live up to these standards,” Mr. Lamb said.
In fact, Mr. Lamb boasts, by Qantas replacing Boeing’s 747 with aircrafts like the Airbus A330 and Airbus A380, travellers will benefit with roomier and more comfortable cabins.
“It shouldn’t be a shock that you’re not going to maintain a Prius like a Model-T Ford,” added Mr. Lamb.
Qantas has not commented on whether the 53 plus employees, who will be laid-off, will be relocated to other Qantas facilities.