A Skytrans plane at Cairns Airport. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A Skytrans plane at Cairns Airport. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Workers sacked as airline outsources jobs

THE entire Skytrans maintenance engineering department in Cairns has been made redundant with the company set to outsource all of its aircraft upkeep.

The company's chief executive Stuart Dechan has confirmed Hawker Pacific, which had already been doing some additional maintenance work for the airline, would now take on all engineering operations.

He would not confirm how many Skytrans staff were set to lose their jobs, but said Hawker Pacific was now hiring to account for their increased workload.

"I do believe there will certainly be enough positions in the industry to cover what number (Skytrans loses)," he said.

Mr Dechan said the redundancies, which were announced to staff last week, would not affect airline operations.

Stuart Dechan in July when he was announced as the company’s new CEO. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Stuart Dechan in July when he was announced as the company’s new CEO. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"This was based on a business decision in regards to our operating model and finding out how we can better deliver our services," he said.

"It doesn't affect Skytrans at all. It's based on our vision for the future and will assist us when we bring additional aircraft into the company."

A Skytrans maintenance engineer who had been made redundant, who did not wish to be named, said at least 12 staff would be impacted and it was an attempt by the company to "cut costs".

Hawker Pacific extended hanger at general aviation, Cairns Airport. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Hawker Pacific extended hanger at general aviation, Cairns Airport. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

"As with anything like that you do hear rumours but I was surprised it happened so rapidly," he said.

"About three months before they were doing restructuring but said no jobs would be lost. There is a lot of people that are worried and pissed off."

Skytrans went through a turbulent period in January 2015 when it went into voluntary administration the day after marking its 25th anniversary.

Peter Collings and Johnathan Thurston. Photo: Skytrans
Peter Collings and Johnathan Thurston. Photo: Skytrans

It returned to the skies on March 31 that year under the ownership of Collings Holdings Airlines owned by Peter Collings, who also owns West Wing Aviation, and former North Queensland Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston.

It operates flights throughout Cape York and the Torres Strait.

Mr Dechan was announced as the company's new CEO in late July as part of a company-wide restructure.



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