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Union claims offshore work on Qantas aircraft is dodgy

March 19, 2014 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Many errors have been made in the servicing of Qantas aircraft sent to Asia for heavy maintenance over the years, the aircraft engineers’ union has claimed.

The union alleges that after maintenance on a Qantas B747, three of its four engines were found to have been improperly attached.

The allegations were made made during a Senate inquiry into the airline’s future, the Canberra Times reported. The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) wants to stop the government relaxing the Qantas Sale Act, a move which could send thousands of jobs overseas.

The Qantas Sales Act requires the airline to be majority Australian owned. Qantas recently confirmed it would axe 5000 jobs as part of a AUD 2 billion cost-cutting program to help counter major losses.

ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas used parliamentary privilege to release a dossier reportedly detailing multiple errors on Qantas planes following heavy maintenance in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Purvinas released a submission claiming 600 defects on the first Qantas 737 to have work conducted on it in Singapore in late 2009. Defects included corrosion on the wings, a cracked floor beam, damaged wiring, and wiring clamps loose or damaged, the paper said.

Purvinas alleged that a Qantas B747 was discovered with three of its four engines ”not held on properly” after heavy maintenance in Hong 250x250Kong in 2008.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told the Senate inquiry that Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) certifies every Qantas plane that has maintenance performed on it. The level of errors occurring at offshore maintenance bases was no higher than when the work was done in Australia.

Critics have accused the union of a self-serving scare campaign but the union says it has a duty to ensure planes are safe.

ALAEA’s website contains a counter which it says enumerates the number of defects on Qantas aircraft “likely to have gone undetected since 14 June 2012 when Aircraft Engineers were ordered by Fair Work Australia not to carry out safety checks prior to flights”. The counter was yesterday ticking towards 28,000.

ALAEA president Paul Cousins writes on the site that when announcing an independent review of aviation safety regulation in Australia late last year, the Australian Government stated it was seeking to ensure that Australia maintained the country’s “enviable record in aviation safety”.

“Unreported defects and unrecorded maintenance remain a constant thorn in our sides and threaten the safety of all those who fly,” Cousins advised members of the union.

“Too many times the time pressure of OTP [on-time performance] gets the better of both engineers and pilots. Consider both the Spanair and Turkish Airline tragedies though, we can’t afford to ignore these issues any longer. We all must act at the time and always regardless of time pressure.

“If you see a defect, report it. If you fix something, no matter how small, record it. It might not only save lives but it might just save your job.”

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    oh dear , can smell that beautiful odour of red herring from here – this and the construction industry seem to be able to ‘engineer ‘ problems just as ‘sensitive ‘ negotiations are on as to why they need to be paid twice as much as anyone else in the world but that is just my poor stupid cynical self

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