07 May 2010

ATR Maintenance to be done in Nelson

Air Nelson secures up to 30 new jobs

Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/3610890/Air-Nelson-secures-up-to-30-new-jobs

Air Nelson has secured up to 30 new engineering jobs at its maintenance base. General manager Grant Kerr said today it was a fantastic opportunity for Air Nelson and the region. The salaries would be more than $1 million a year. The move follows changes at Air New Zealand's Christchurch base, which will focus on Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 jet maintenance work, and from November will no longer undertake turboprop heavy maintenance. This means Mt Cook Airlines, which has its ATR72 heavy maintenance carried out by Air NZ in Christchurch, will use Air Nelson to maintain its fleet of 11 aircraft in Nelson. The airline said the decision was expected to create up to 30 additional engineering jobs at Air Nelson, as well as eight additional jobs in Christchurch as new contracts were secured. Air NZ technical operations general manager commercial, Trevor Hughes, said its Christchurch base was recognised as the leading narrow body jet maintenance centre in Australasia, but was capacity-constrained and had turned down third-party jet maintenance work. The airline's review of its facilities and capacity meant it could make the most of having 737 and A320 jet work concentrated in Christchurch and having the two turboprop fleets maintained in Nelson. "It provides exciting opportunities to grow our maintenance base in Christchurch and to secure more work from the large number of carriers operating 737 and A320 fleets across Australasia and the Pacific," Mr Hughes said. The changes would create opportunities for staff facing redundancy at Safe Air in Blenheim to apply for jobs at Air Nelson and in Christchurch, he said. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union welcomed the transfer of the work to Nelson because of the new jobs created. The new jobs offered a ray of light to Safe Air workers, said EPMU national secretary Andrew Little. They had been told that they could apply, but unfortunately there was no guarantee that they would get the jobs. It was good news for Air NZ engineering, as it demonstrated that the operation there was viable and competitive for new business, he said. That boded well for the industry as a whole, with the possibility of job growth in this area. The Government has floated the possibility of it buying Safe Air or running it as an independent entity, but the EPMU wanted the chance to discuss the proposal before any steps were taken, Mr Little said.

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