QANTAS has sacked 400 maintenance workers and contractors in Melbourne and Sydney this afternoon.
The airliner announced it would cut about 250 Forstaff contractors and a small number of Qantas employees working on a project to reconfigure nine Boeing 747 aircraft at its Avalon heavy maintenance base in Melbourne, the Herald Sun reports.
The maintenance engineers were told at 1pm that their work would finish at the end of the month.
The other 200 line maintenance jobs will go from Sydney due to ''overstaffing''.
Line maintenance is usually carried out on aircraft daily, either in between flights or overnight, and includes minor repairs or modifications and visual inspections.
There would also be cuts to staff numbers at Qantas Defence Services - which maintains the Australian Defence Force's C130 Hercules aircraft - and a consolidation of engineering training facilities from Melbourne to an existing facility in Sydney, Qantas said.
Qantas also said it was adding up to 120 positions at its Brisbane maintenance facility as work was transferred from its Tullamarine site in Melbourne, which has closed.
It has already added 100 positions in Brisbane since May, plus 30 apprentices who are currently being recruited
''The changes will result in a net reduction of around 150 Qantas employees and 250 contractors from a workforce of around 30,000 across Australia,'' Qantas said in a statement.
Qantas domestic chief Lyell Strambi said newer aircraft arriving into the fleet required less maintenance than the older aircraft they were replacing.
"Aviation is an extraordinarily competitive industry and we have the added pressures of a high Australian dollar and high costs relative to the rest of the world,'' he said.
Mr Strambi said the airline’s fleet of more modern aircraft has provided customers with a better flying experience and had reduced the amount of maintenance required.
Affected staff would be offered assistance to relocate to Brisbane, or redeployment to other roles at the company, he said.
''I believe we have some of the most highly skilled and capable engineers in the world,'' Mr Strambi said in a statement.
''Unfortunately we just have too many for the work we have right now and the work we expect to have in future.
''Knowing how long it takes to build engineering skill and capability, we have avoided making these decisions for as long as we could.''
But Qantas said it was the only Australian airline to do its heavy maintenance here and no jobs were being offshored.
The latest blow comes after Qantas sacked 500 staff in May and closed its Tullamarine heavy maintenance base.
In May, Qantas announced it would consolidate its heavy maintenance facilities in Australia and modernise its engineering systems and processes.
This first step saw the consolidation of heavy maintenance into two Australian facilities - Brisbane and Avalon.
The airline closed down its Tullamarine facility in August, and plans eventually to consolidate all its heavy maintenance work for Boeing 737, 767 and Airbus A330 aircraft on one site.
Victorian Opposition employment spokesman Tim Pallas said Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu had questions to answer over today's job losses.
He said Mr Baillieu had said in parliament after the job cuts in May that he had saved jobs at Avalon.
"He has overstated his capacity and squandered a lot of opportunities," he said.
"Unemployment in South Barwon is 7.1 per cent, almost 50 per cent higher than the state's average."
John Erin, Victorian Labor MP for Lara, said the job losses would hurt the region.
"We've had nothing but bad news since this government came to power," he said.
"We have had bad news at Alcoa, Ford, Avalon and now there's speculation about Shell letting go of workers which would put a lot of pressure on the ports."
- With AAP