Rockhampton airport is set to receive a new $60 million aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility, through support from the Queensland Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Investment, Cameron Dick, said Alliance Airlines would establish the facility to maintain its growing fleet of aircraft that currently has major maintenance activities carried out overseas.

“In a state as vast as Queensland, we know how important it is to have a thriving, competitive aviation sector,” Mr Dick said. 

“In recent years, Alliance Airlines has grown rapidly and expanded from resources-based operations to conventional passenger and freight services.

“In the next 12 months, Alliance’s fleet of aircraft will expand from 43 to 75.

“To support that larger fleet, the Rockhampton MRO facility will see the creation of 98 new long-term, operational jobs by 2024.

“There will also be a significant number of construction jobs to manage the capital works and other indirect employment opportunities created.”

Mr Dick said that the commitment from Alliance shows that Queensland has the capabilities to enhance operations and further consolidate growing reputation in the multi-billion-dollar global MRO industry.

“Base maintenance means a lot of overhaul work, and that means a lot of opportunities for local businesses in the supply chain,” Mr Dick said. 

“This will create a raft of new opportunities for avionics, aerospace technologies, wheels, tyres, brakes and landing gear, engine maintenance, interiors and upholstery and cabin accessories suppliers.

“Economic modelling shows that the Alliance facility is expected to directly boost the Queensland economy by almost $195 million over the next ten years.”

Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Glenn Butcher, said the announcement demonstrated the State Government’s clear focus on supporting existing industries to grow and attracting new industries to regional Queensland.

“Growing regional economies by attracting new industries and supporting existing industries to grow and create jobs is a key part of the Palaszczuk Government’s economic plan to recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Butcher said.

“This is just another example of our Government’s commitment to delivering opportunities for regional businesses and manufacturers to access new supply chains and create secure, long term jobs.”

Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke, said the MRO facility represents a significant diversification of Central Queensland’s employment base.

“In addition to administration positions and apprenticeships, 81 of the new jobs will be for highly skilled aircraft maintenance engineers,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Member for Keppel and Assistant Minister for Education, Brittany Lauga, said the Alliance’s enhanced presence in Central Queensland would create a host of other employment opportunities.

“This facility should act as a catalyst for further regional development by attracting speciality high value freight and logistics suppliers and a range of aeronautical support companies to the region, creating an aeronautical and logistics hub,” Ms Lauga siad. 

Headquartered in Brisbane, Alliance provides dedicated contract, charter and aviation services to support mining, energy, tourism and government sectors with its fleet of Fokker and Embraer aircraft.

The company also operates flights on behalf of most of Australia’s largest airlines, across all mainland Australian states and territories, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, and has a current full-time equivalent workforce of 820 staff.

Alliance Airlines Chairman, Steve Padgett OAM, said the company’s $250 million investment into its fleet expansion over the past 12 months was further motivation to relocate its major maintenance activities to Queensland.

“This move will give us better control and coordination of our fleet, minimise costs and exposure to border closures and currency fluctuations, and will increase efficiencies across the entire Alliance group,” Mr Padgett said.

“Once the facility is fully operational, we expect to achieve approximately $20 million per annum in full export replacement.

“We’re pleased to be working with the Queensland Government with its funding support going directly to establishing the facility. This is in addition to the recently announced $25 million from the Australian Government for upgrades to the Rockhampton Airport to service the facility.”

The Queensland Government identified MRO services as a key growth opportunity for Queensland as outlined in the Queensland Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan and will continue to maximise opportunities to support the industry.

Learn more about job-creating projects in regional Queensland through the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

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