9 December 2014: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said today that three Qantas safety incidents overnight reiterated his concerns that the airline moving 5000 maintenance jobs offshore would affect the company’s safety.
“This is probably the greatest number of incidents that have occurred in a short space of time within Qantas’ history.
“That experience and knowledge at Qantas and its subsidiary has now been dissipated. Instead of having the training and maintenance carried out in one country, it’s now being scattered over 5 countries and 4 continents.
Mr Katter said that all of the airlines in the world are now built in America and Europe with the manuals being written in English. The work is then carried out in countries where the first language is not English. Mr Katter cited two of the world’s worst crashes as having occurred due to mis-reading and mis-translation as a major contributing factor.
“The gutting of the finest group of aeronautical engineers on earth can be laid at the feet of the 2 mainstream parties and their obsessive zealotry with free market economics, which allowed Qantas to be sold off.
Mr Katter has come out strongly supporting the Transport Workers’ Union and the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association’s (ALAEA) comments today.
“Steve Purvinas of the ALAEA has said again and again that incidents will occur with increasing frequency.
“James Strong, the long term Chief Executive of Qantas, said that if the Government moved to a full free market policy, he would have no alternative but to move all 5000 maintenance jobs to Singapore.
“They said rather confrontationally to me, “you of all people know the implications of that”.
“What he foresaw as inevitable is now clearly happening. The safest airline on earth was safe because we had the best aeronautical engineers on earth and there was the handed down accumulated wisdom.
“The price of getting from Mt Isa to Brisbane has gone through the roof through their so called free market. For the people of Mt Isa and inland Queensland, airlines are an essential service that we need to use whether we want to or not.
“The reality is that you can run the airline very cheaply if you have second rate engine maintenance done on it overseas, but it will come at the cost of passenger safety,” Mr Katter said.