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Construction Begins On Virgin Blue’s Qld Maintenance Facility

18/01/2005

Work on Virgin Blue’s new multi-million dollar maintenance facility at Brisbane Airport will get underway today following Federal Government approval late last year of the Major Development Plan.


The initial construction phase starts this week for the hangar facility, with the project backed by strong support from Queensland’s Beattie Government and the Brisbane Airport Corporation.


When complete, the maintenance facility will provide B737 aircraft line maintenance to the Virgin Blue fleet and will complement the carrier’s Melbourne hangar centre which already provides line maintenance to aircraft in southern ports.


The facility is expected to take 12 months to complete and will, in conjunction with Virgin Blue’s other projects in the precinct, contribute to supporting more than 150 jobs over the next five years. The flow-on benefits of construction will be in the manufacturing and services sector and will add approximately $8 million in to the local economy in materials and off-site manufacturing.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “This is a significant and solid commitment to aviation in our home state of Queensland and we are excited to be forging ahead with this development. It will be a great benefit for Virgin Blue to have its own maintenance facility in Brisbane as well as Melbourne.”


The primary purpose of the maintenance hangar is to provide a two-bay line maintenance facility for its B737-700/800 aircraft with an option for future expansion.


Brett Godfrey added, “This is a long term project for Virgin Blue and we are looking beyond our own needs to the possibility of offering the facility and its services to other carriers, both domestic and international, operating other aircraft types.”


The hangar will be built on an area of approximately 18,500 square metres in an area known as “ Aerotech Park” which incorporates a cluster of specialist services integrating aviation, aerospace, maintenance, training, retail, recreation, industrial and commercial development. It’s expected to be completed within 12 months.


The hangar at Brisbane Airport is a major step on the path to Brisbane becoming a key Asia-Pacific hub for aviation maintenance and training, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) General Manager Commercial Services, Otto Ambagtsheer, said.


“With record levels of passengers and commercial activity at Brisbane Airport, we are at a critical point in the Airport’s development and investment by major partners such as Virgin Blue is helping create a high-value cluster of specialist and advanced industry for the Smart State,” Mr Ambagtsheer said.


“BAC has announced a program of more than $1.2 billion in airport investments over the next five to seven years, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. For every dollar we invest, our partners and tenants will invest a further $2.


“And with the soon-to-be unveiled Da Vinci Centre of Aerospace Training and Technology campus, we are creating a high-tech education, research and development precinct centred around the old International Terminal site, which will directly provide graduates, R&D services and technical expertise to our partners such as Virgin Blue, and ensure that this emerging industry is locked in for Brisbane well into the future.


“The decision to locate this maintenance facility at Brisbane Airport is important international recognition for the very real advantages that Brisbane Airport offers, and delivers another significant element to our vision for a unique precinct of global aviation and aerospace excellence here in Queensland,” Mr Ambagtsheer finished.