125 jobs: Alliance reveals plans for $70m Rocky hangar
Approvals are underway for a $70 million maintenance hangar to be built at Rockhampton Airport by Alliance Airlines, creating 225 jobs.
Maintenance work on Alliance's aircraft is currently carried out in Europe and Singapore but now, the company intends to bring those services back to Australia and has chosen Rockhampton as the perfect location.
Alliance expects to employ 125 staff for the new maintenance and repair hangar, which is also expected to generate a further 100 additional jobs in the region while injecting $30 million into the local economy.
The build will be undertaken by Ahrens and is expected to take nine months and support a further 100 construction jobs.
The facility is hoped to be completed by October 2022.
Alliance submitted plans for the facility, to be located east of the existing terminal, with Rockhampton Regional Council in December and company executives arrived at the airport today to formally announce the plans.
Alliance managing director Scott McMillan said the application process was still going through the necessary environmental, Civil Aviation Safety Authority, air services and council approvals but the company did not expect any delays.
Alliance has recently acquired 30 new Embraer E190 jets, taking their fleet up to 72 aircraft.
The 140 metre wide proposed facility will have the space to cater for three aircraft at a time.
Mr McMillan said a base maintenance check took 7,000 man hours to complete at a cost of $1 million.
Alliance has no plans to carry out maintenance works for other airlines.
"Aircraft require deep maintenance and with 30 additional jet aircraft that is a lot," Mr McMillan said.
"All that maintenance is being done overseas at the moment so that is huge export replacement.
"If COVID has taught us one thing it is to become a bit more self-reliant."
Of the 125 maintenance staff, about 20 will be apprentices.
"There is a huge commitment required for education and the State Government have a significant role to play with TAFE and local universities," Mr McMillan said.
"It's going to provide some really highly skilled employment for a lot of young people in this part of Australia."
The facility will be one of the largest structures of its kind in regional Queensland.
In a sentimental twist of fate, Alliance's first ever flight was to Rockhampton 20 years ago in 2002.
"We have built a special relationship with Rockhampton and the wider Central Queensland region," Mr McMillan said.
"It's a great project and we can't wait to start."
Rockhampton region mayor Tony Williams welcomed the fantastic news and said it would create opportunities for more flights out of Rockhampton and would help continue to grow the region as a destination hub.
The Federal Government is fronting $15 million towards the project for groundworks.
"We have a major boom going on and I think when you look at groups like Alliance they see potential for this area with what's going on here with military, major road projects, infrastructure like our art gallery," Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the State Government would also be involved and supported the project.
"To end up with an Alliance maintenance depot here employing around 120 Alliance staff, that is great for Rockhampton and great for our local economy," he said.
"Anything we can do to increase tourism and jobs in the region is what is really important."
An avid spokesperson for the airport and Councillor Neil Fisher was beside himself to be able to announce the news.
"We will be the centre of a whole new industry," he said.
"It is so good to think we are taking money that would go to eastern Europe, would now come here to our part of Central Queensland, creating jobs and long-term futures."
Reflecting when former mayor Jim Webber championed council taking back the airport in the 1980s, Cr Fisher said this type of development was one of the visions he had back then.
"It is going to create generational benefits to our region," Cr Fisher said.
"It will be almost as big as the terminal and will become a landmark for Rockhampton."
The project is currently going through the Development Application process.
For a bit of fun, Alliance has also promised to sponsor a 100 metre dash inside the hangar annually, with beers and bookies on offer.