Qantas Studies Relocation Of Key Australian Facilities

The Qantas head office is currently located in Sydney's Mascot suburb.
Credit: APP Corporation

Qantas is inviting Australian states to submit incentive proposals as the airline considers relocating its corporate headquarters and main MRO base to other parts of the country.

The carrier will undertake a three-month review of the location of key facilities, as part of efforts to reduce overheads. Qantas is “keen to engage with state governments on any potential incentives as part of our decision making,” the airline’s group CFO Vanessa Hudson said.

The review will mainly involve leased “non-aviation facilities” such as the Qantas head office in Sydney suburb Mascot, New South Wales, and subsidiary Jetstar’s head office in Melbourne, Victoria. The process could result in collocating some facilities in the same state, the carrier said. The Qantas Group spends about A$40 million ($29 million) annually on leased office space across Australia.

Relocation of some operational facilities will also be considered, Qantas said. These include flight simulator centers in Sydney and Melbourne, and even the heavy maintenance base in Brisbane. Hudson indicated that Qantas will consider the yet-to-be-built Western Sydney Airport as a potential location for some of its facilities, “given the opportunity this greenfield project represents.”

“Most of our activities and facilities are anchored to the airports we fly to, but anything that can reasonably move without impacting our operations or customers is on the table as part of this review,” Hudson said. She noted that the airline’s corporate workforce is smaller now because of cuts driven by the COVID-19 crisis.

The CFO stressed that the airline is keeping an open mind about a wide range of alternatives. For example, one option could be merging the Qantas and Jetstar headquarters. It is also possible that the Qantas headquarters stays where it is but is reduced in size, with other facilities consolidated elsewhere. Another opportunity could be to create “a single, all-purpose campus that brings together many different parts of the group,” Hudson said.

Any relocations “are likely to be staggered over time,” potentially taking years depending on what options are decided, Qantas said.

However, a first phase in the near-term will be subleasing about 25,000 m² (269,000 ft²) of surplus office space spread across Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney. A lease on a downtown Sydney office space—separate from Qantas headquarters—that is due to expire in October will not be renewed.

Adrian Schofield

Adrian is a senior air transport editor for Aviation Week, based in New Zealand. He covers commercial aviation in the Asia-Pacific region.