Qantas today formally welcomed the commencement of A330 heavy maintenance at its Brisbane operation and introduced 21 new apprentice engineers who will join the 450-strong engineering workforce in Brisbane.Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alan Joyce, said today’s announcement delivered upon a commitment made by the airline last year to establish an A330 heavy maintenance base in Brisbane. “Premier Bligh and I stood here last year to announce that we were bringing A330 maintenance back to Australia, and had chosen Brisbane as the location. Today, I am very proud to stand here again with Treasurer Andrew Fraser to showcase our ongoing investment in Australian engineering,” he said. “We also have 21 new apprentice engineers joining Qantas in Brisbane today. These young men and women are part of the 100 apprentices we employ, on average, each year at Qantas, and also part of our 5,500 Australian-based engineering workforce. “We are committed to continuing our investment in the future engineers of Australia. We operate the largest civil aviation apprentice program in Australia where our apprentices learn alongside our senior engineers to maintain our aircraft to the highest safety standards.” Mr Fraser said both the Queensland Government and Qantas had a long history of investing in Queensland jobs. “I’m really pleased to be here today to see this commitment to have an A330 heavy maintenance base located in Brisbane become a reality,” he said. “Today’s announcement proves Queensland is the best place to do business and that we have what it takes to beat tough inter-state competition and secure jobs for Queenslanders.” Mr Joyce said the Brisbane heavy maintenance facility was established in 2005 at a cost of $85 million and was the airline’s third heavy maintenance facility in Australia alongside Tullamarine and Avalon in Victoria. Qantas Engineering received more than 700 applications for the 2010 apprentice intake. Qantas undertakes around 90 per cent of aircraft heavy maintenance in Australia. Any work that is carried out offshore is overflow work or work undertaken in major operational hubs due to regulatory requirements that aircraft undergo specific certifications before operating a long haul service. Any overseas maintenance work is overseen by Qantas Engineers and certified to Civil Aviation Safety Authority standards.