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Federal Government Gives Green Light For New Multi-Million Dollar Virgin Blue Maintenance Facility In Qld


Brisbane 26 May 2004: The Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon. John Anderson, has approved the Major Development Plan for the proposed Virgin Blue maintenance base at Brisbane Airport.

The low fare airline has been working closely with the Federal Government and Brisbane Airport Corporation over recent months to secure the development approvals, with strong support from Premier Peter Beattie and the State Government.

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

Construction of the hangar facility is expected to create more than 150 full-time jobs over the next five years. The flow-on benefits of construction will be in the manufacturing and services sector, which will provide the equivalent of a further 20 full-time jobs, and will add around $8 million in to the local economy in materials and off-site manufacturing.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said Virgin was looking to enhance its B737 maintenance operation at its Brisbane base while at the same time catering for potential future business opportunities. The long term plan is to have a facility capable of providing maintenance services to regional and international airlines in a strategic location closer to Asia and only an hour from Sydney.

“The design of the facility will allow for two 737NG aircraft to fit in at the one time or a large aircraft by itself.

This is a significant investment in our engineering support and demonstrates Virgin Blue’s commitment to further boosting its presence in Queensland and creating the environment for long-term future growth,” Brett Godfrey said.

“With the recent opening of our state-of-the-art Virgin Blue-Alteon Flight Training Centre, Virgin Blue is firmly establishing itself as the state carrier of Queensland and we are proud to be able to create hundreds of exciting and high-tech jobs.”

BAC Managing Director and CEO Koen Rooijmans said there were limited opportunities in Australia for the development of aircraft maintenance bases of this scale, as most capital city airports are constrained by space and planning pressures. However Brisbane Airport had recognised the need to provide a significant area for the provision of such facilities in its Master Plans, including the 2003 Master Plan which was approved by Minister Anderson.

“With the two premier Australian airlines now firmly established in Australia’s largest specialist aviation maintenance precinct, the Virgin Blue facility is a major step in the Airport City vision outlined in our Master Plan,” Mr Rooijmans said.

“Built around a cluster of specialist services, Aerotech Park will be an integral part of the development of what will be Australia’s premier Aerotropolis, a set of precincts integrating aviation, aerospace, maintenance, training, retail, recreation, industrial and commercial development.”

He added. “The recently approved Brisbane Airport Master Plan is the visionary document that outlines how our city airport is being transformed into an Airport City. Now, as each individual project is subjected to the requisite building and environmental approvals, we are seeing a true Aerotropolis taking shape, which is exciting for the regional economy.”

The 2003 Master Plan forecasts the workforce on Brisbane Airport will grow from its current 9000 to over 35,000 within two decades – a workforce the equivalent of a regional Australian city. Work is set to begin on the Virgin Blue maintenance hangar later this year.