Qantas will shift the heavy maintenance of its retiring Boeing 747 fleet overseas after its operation at Avalon in Victoria shuts in March.
Late last year Qantas announced it was closing its maintenance facilities at Avalon, with the loss of 53 employees and 246 contractors.
The airline flagged the work could be done in Brisbane, Sydney or offshore.
But Qantas has today announced it was not viable to relocate the 747 maintenance work to an Australian facility.
Steve Purvinas from the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association says the decision is “pretty disappointing but not surprising”.
“Qantas all along have known this work was probably going to go overseas,” he said.
“Yet they’ve tried to tempt us through these negotiations that the work could go to Brisbane providing employment for those displaced persons there.
“[Our members] were always hopeful that they could win themselves a transfer up to Brisbane where the work was supposedly meant to be carried out.
“But now today they’ve found out there’s going to be no options for them to be transferred to Brisbane so they’ll be down at Centrelink with all the other people who can’t find [work].”
The move comes as the airline pushes for changes to the Qantas Sale Act, which limits foreign ownership of the airline to 49 per cent.
Qantas says strict foreign ownership rules are making it hard to compete with rival airline Virgin.
The Government has been hinting the restrictions may be rolled back, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying such a request is not “unreasonable”.
Last month the airline announced it was expecting massive financial losses, slashing up to a thousand more jobs and said it may have to impose wage freezes.