MASE-Qantas JV postponed again

The start-up of the much-talked about MAS Aerospace Engineering Malaysia (MASE) Qantas maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) joint venture remains uncertain.

The 50-50 equity joint venture (JV) was initially targeted to start operations in mid-2008, but a check with MASE revealed that no date has been fixed for the facilityto get off the ground.

MASE managing director Mohd Roslan Ismail said he hopes the JV will be operational next year.

“Qantas requires more time to explain to its staff further about the deal and also to address some engineering issues related to its aircraft that surfaced recently,” Roslan notes.

Qantas’ problems started on 25 July 2008 when QF 30, a 747-400 aircraft on a flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne diverted to Manila following a loss of cabin pressure. The flight had originated from London Heathrow.

On 12 August Qantas pulled six 737- 400s from service for cross-checking maintenance records relating to aircraft modification work carried out at one of its Australian MRO facilities. The airline had discovered an irregularity with paperwork for these aircraft during an internal integrity check of maintenance records.

In the third incident on 8 October QF 32, an A330-300 aircraft on a flight from Singapore to Perth had a sudden change of altitude during cruise at 37,000 ft. The aircraft was diverted to Learmonth, an air force base. The JV’s hangar to be located at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) would have the capacity to accommodate two Airbus A380s and two narrow body aircraftat any one time. The yet-to-be named company would have the capability to do heavy maintenance for B747-400, B777, A330 and A320 aircraft.