Qantas has unveiled its new engineering facility at Los Angeles International Airport, an investment of more than US$30 million.
It is one of the largest commercial hangars in North America and the first specifically designed to accommodate the Airbus A380. The 5.7 hectare hangar will be used to carry out maintenance checks on Qantas’ A380 and Boeing 747 aircraft during ground time in Los Angeles. It will also have capacity to support Qantas’ new B787-9 Dreamliner when it enters service in late 2017.
With 50 per cent more space than the airline’s previous LAX hangar, which was also used to maintain its A380s and B747s, the facility has the capacity for four aircraft to be worked on simultaneously. Its higher capacity is expected to cut the time it takes to carry out maintenance tasks by about 20 per cent. Its size means Qantas will also have the ability to bid for work on other carriers’ aircraft.
The new building has enabled Qantas to consolidate its property footprint in LA, with 40 corporate employees moving into new offices in the hangar and joining the team of local engineers. Qantas’ previous hangar at LAX was built at the start of the jet era in 1958. It was demolished to make way for broader improvements to the airport, triggering the construction of the new facility.
Officially opening the new hangar today, Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said it gave the airline a world-class maintenance facility in one of its busiest offshore hubs. “We can have up to four aircraft on the ground at LAX at once and some are here for around 14 hours, so it makes sense to have a facility where we can make good use of that time by doing scheduled maintenance. Ultimately, this helps us increase the amount of time our aircraft can spend serving our customers. Australia will always be where we do the majority of our maintenance, and we’ve invested heavily in our onshore facilities in recent years, but LAX is our next biggest transit point so we’re pleased to now have a facility that reflects that.”
Qantas operates more than 40 return flights per week from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to LA using A380s and B747s. Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner services on the Melbourne-LA route begin in December 2017.