TAMWORTH’S lucrative multi-million dollar aviation industry has received a significant boost after QantasLink announced the doubling of its aircraft maintenance capacity.
The decision to spend $1.2 million opening a second hangar at Tamworth airport will create 25 new high-paying engineering jobs in a significant boost to the local economy.
QantasLink chief executive officer John Gissing flew to Tamworth yesterday to make the announcement before some of the company’s existing 100-strong local workforce.
He said the expansion, as well as the upgrade of the existing maintenance hangar, further enhanced Tamworth’s standing as a “centre of aviation engineering excellence”.
“This is a wonderful story for Tamworth,” he said. “The work you do out here is world-leading in so many respects and we just keep getting better and better.
“The new hangar allows us to do maintenance checks on two aircraft at the same time, which helps us meet our maintenance schedules, improve productivity and reduce operating costs.”
QantasLink will contribute $600,000 towards the project, with Tamworth Regional Council and the state government pitching in $300,000 each.
In addition to creating new jobs, the capital expenditure ensures about 72 jobs tied directly to maintenance services remain safe for the foreseeable future.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said council considered the aviation industry as one that had almost infinite growth potential for the city.
“We’ve had to really roll our sleeves up and fight a hard battle to get to this stage, but it’s just fabulous to be here today to celebrate this announcement,” he said.
“It makes me so proud just to look around and see what you guys – the people of Tamworth – are actually able to do.”
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said the state government had secured money from its Regional Industries Investment Fund to help bankroll the expansion.
“With the facilities at Tamworth now running at capacity, and with increased demand for maintenance services, QantasLink had been reviewing options for alternative locations,” he said.
QantasLink conducts all heavy maintenance on its Bombardier Q400, Q300 and Q200 aircraft at the Tamworth maintenance facility.