Townsville-based Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) King Air aircraft will undergo scheduled maintenance with Hawker Pacific following the shutdown of Regional Express-owned local aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company Aviex last week.
An RFDS Queensland spokesperson told Australian Aviation on Tuesday the organisation had managed to transition its maintenance work at Townsville from Aviex to Hawker Pacific without any disruption to services.
“The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) have two Beechcraft King Air B200 based in Townsville to provide aeromedical assistance to rural and remote Queensland,” RFDS Queensland Section general manager for integrated operations Jaya Ganasan said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Aviex were performing our scheduled maintenance and line maintenance of these two Townsville based aircraft. When Aviex announced their impending closure, RFDS (Queensland Section) contacted Hawker Pacific in Cairns who agreed to provide an engineer on the ground in Townsville to meet the maintenance needs of these two aircraft.”
Across the runway at RAAF Base Townsville Hawker Pacific already provides support for eight King Air 350s operated by the RAAF’s 38 Squadron, while the RFDS already had an existing relationship with Hawker Pacific in Cairns.
It is understood that Hawker Pacific has sent an engineer to another Aviex customer, Curtain Brothers, to assist following the Aviex closure.
The August 25 closure of Townsville-based Aviex resulted in 15 people losing their jobs and ended an unsuccessful turnaround effort from the company’s new owner Regional Express (Rex).
Aviex leased a 5,500sqm hangar from Townsville Airport and specialised in maintenance of turboprop airliners such as the Saab 340, ATR, Dash 8, Metroliner and King Air.
However, Aviex suffered a blow in July when its largest client Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) chose to move ATR 72 line maintenance work to its own Virgin Tech facility Brisbane, a Rex spokesperson told Australian Aviation on Tuesday.
The Rex spokesperson said the loss of the VARA contract meant there was not enough work to keep the facility going. The 15 Aviex employees were made redundant and their entitlements paid out on August 25.
Rex aircraft that previously had their maintenance checks done at Aviex will be sent to Townsville for line maintenance and be routed through the airline’s southern network for heavy maintenance, the spokesperson added.