Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan today opened a new line maintenance base in Melbourne, the UAE flag carrier’s seventh facility outside Abu Dhabi and its second in Australia.

The new maintenance base will be managed by three engineers and three technicians. Three of the technicians, Scott Gaskell and Erik Robinson from Brisbane, and Marcus Casey from Melbourne are among 23 trainees which the airline has recruited directly from the training organisation, Aviation Australia.

Mr Hogan said: “Since 2007, Etihad Airways has invested more than $A10 million in its Australian line maintenance operations, hiring and upskilling in the process many Australian engineers and technicians.

“While some companies are shedding maintenance jobs, we look forward to hiring even more Australian technicians and engineers as our global operations continue to grow.

“It is particularly pleasing that Etihad Airways was able to bring Scott, Erik and Marcus to our home-base of Abu Dhabi and train them along with the other 20 Australians to become aviation technicians. These three have now returned home to Australia as fully certified aviation professionals.”

The new engineering facility is equipped with the latest technology and will perform all scheduled and non-scheduled line maintenance for Etihad Airways aircraft flying into Melbourne.

From 1 September 2012 the specialist team will have the ability to provide line maintenance to other airlines.

The maintenance services to be performed in Melbourne include transit, daily and weekly checks, scheduled engineering services and fault repairs for the aircraft systems and in the cabins.

In addition to Melbourne and Sydney, Etihad Airways’ existing facilities are in Bombay, Dublin, Lahore, London-Heathrow and Manchester.

Chris Woodruff, Melbourne Airport CEO, said: “Melbourne Airport is proud to welcome the Etihad Airways line maintenance facility and the team that will manage its operations.

“Etihad Airways has a terrific reputation in the city, gained through its award-winning services and the Etihad Stadium and this continued local investment is greatly appreciated.”