Qantas to Service Australia’s KC-30B Tankers
Australian Minister of Defence Dr. Brendan Nelson announced that Australia’s DoD has signed a 5-year contract with Qantas airlines for the ongoing engineering, maintenance, supply and training support of Australia’s 5 Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. The A330 MRTT aircraft, also called the KC-30B, will replace the RAAF’s fleet of KC-135 (Boeing 707) tankers. In addition to dispensing fuel, it can also function in a secondary cargo role and carry up to 270 people, and/or combinations of people and up to 32 463L cargo pallets. It is scheduled to enter RAAF service in 2009, was recently chosen by the UAE, and is currently facing off against Boeing’s smaller KC-767 for the USA’s $20-30 billion, 100-plane KC-X aerial tanker competition.
The initial maintenance contract period is worth over AUS$ 70 million (currently about $55.5 million) to Qantas and its subcontractors; if the government wishes, it could be extended to 20 years or even throughout the aircrafts’ entire service life. Qantas already operates Airbus A330-200 aircraft in its civilian passenger fleet, and the new contract will create 40-50 positions within the Qantas support organization at RAAF Base Amberley and at Brisbane Airport. See Ministerial release | Quantas release
Qantas was a joint bidder with EADS CASA for Australia’s 2004 aerial tanker contract, and is responsible for converting 4 A330-200s in Australia after the 1st KC-30B is delivered directly to the RAAF from Spain.