An industrial action campaign by Qantas engineers has contributed to the loss of a third-party maintenance contract, and has prompted Jetstar to outsource some aircraft work overseas, the Qantas Group says.

A line maintenance contract with New Caledonian carrier Aircalin has been canceled in a move directly related to the reduced maintenance capacity caused by engineers’ industrial action, a Qantas spokesman tells Aviation Week. The cancellation is believed to have been prompted by Aircalin. The contract, which was not yet due for renewal, covered Airbus A330 and A320 work in Brisbane.

The four Jetstar aircraft that have been sent overseas for maintenance work were A330s. Three MRO projects were C1/C2 checks on aircraft currently in the fleet, and the other was a pre-service check for a new aircraft.

The Qantas Group last week announced plans to temporarily reduce its operational fleet size to reduce the maintenance burden. The carrier is grounding five aircraft, four Boeing 737s and one 767, for at least a month, which will cause 97 weekly flight cancellations.

While the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has canceled further strike action until the Qantas annual general meeting on Oct. 28, it has signaled to its members there could be “a longer [work] stoppage” in Sydney around this time. An overtime ban and a work-to-rule policy remain in place.

However, the union says it is lifting its overtime ban to allow licensed engineers to travel to Bangkok to replace a Rolls-Royce RB211 engine that failed on a Boeing 747-400 flight.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said that the government may step into the labor dispute at some point in the future, although for now she is urging the parties to resume negotiations.