Alliance Airlines (QQ, Brisbane Int'l) is to construct a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Rockhampton airport in Central Queensland with AUD60 million Australian dollars (USD43.8 million) in development aid from the state government.

The base maintenance facility was needed to maintain the carrier’s growing fleet - expected to expand to 75 aircraft in the next 12 months - and which was currently being maintained abroad, Queensland Treasurer and Investment Minister, Cameron Dick, said in a statement.

Alliance Airlines chairperson Steve Padgett confirmed the airline had already invested AUD250 million (USD183 million) in its fleet expansion over the past year. The MRO would give the company better control and coordination of its fleet, minimise costs and exposure to border closures and currency fluctuations, and would increase efficiencies across the entire Alliance Group, he said. “Once the facility is fully operational, we expect to achieve approximately AUS20 million (USD14.6 million) per annum in full export replacement,” he added.

Alliance Airlines has 23 aircraft on order, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module. These include two ERJ 190-100LRs and twenty-one ERJ 190-100ARs to be added to its existing fleet of nine ERJ 190-100ARs. The airline also has twenty-five F100s, five F50s, and fourteen F70s, completing a fleet of 53 aircraft.

The funding for the hangar is being made available through Queensland's Jobs and Regional Growth Fund. It comes in addition to a recently announced AUD25 million (USD18.2 million) from the Australian Government for upgrades to Rockhampton Airport to service the MRO facility.

The maintenance centre will create 98 new long-term, operational jobs by 2024, 81 of which will be aircraft maintenance engineers. It is also expected to create new business and job opportunities in avionics, aerospace technologies, wheels, tyres, brakes and landing gear, engine maintenance, interiors and upholstery, and cabin accessories suppliers.

Dick said the facility would directly boost the Queensland economy by almost AUD195 million (USD142.6 million) over the next decade. The state government has identified MRO services as a key growth opportunity for Queensland as outlined in the Queensland Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.