SYDNEY – Qantas today announced that it would establish a new base in Cairns from September, following a decision to close its Australian Airlines operation.
The Executive General Manager of Qantas, Mr John Borghetti, said the Qantas Group — which
currently employed around 950 people in Cairns — would remain a major employer in Cairns,
continuing to directly employ more than 900 people.
“We expect the majority of Australian Airlines cabin crew to take up new positions in Cairns,” he
“The new base will employ approximately 220 cabin crew, all recruited from the Australian Airlines
Cairns base. “Cabin crew positions are also available with Jetstar, which is currently recruiting for its new
international base in Cairns.”
Mr Borghetti said that in addition to the cabin crew positions in Cairns:
all Australian Airlines pilots would return to Qantas operations, with an opportunity for half
(around 40) to remain in Cairns to crew, subject to union agreement, those B767 operations that continue to use Cairns airport and the remainder relocating to Sydney;
positions would be available for all administrative staff in Brisbane or Sydney; and
additional cabin crew positions would be available in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
He said the Qantas base would operate B767, B737 and A330 aircraft between Cairns and a range
of destinations on the Qantas domestic network, as well as Qantas’ Cairns-Narita flights.
“Our meetings last month with political and tourism representatives in Cairns, including Mayor
Kevin Byrne, provided an opportunity for the Qantas Group to assess all the options available for
future operations in the region,” he said.
“Our overriding objective was to ensure that the Qantas Group could continue to grow services and
support tourism in the region. “Qantas, Jetstar and QantasLink will continue to operate almost 400 flights each week — more than 71,000 seats — in and out of Cairns.
“This is an important development for the Qantas Group, enabling us to strengthen our presence in
Cairns and ensure that we continue to grow tourism in the region.”