RAAF image of the MRTTs no longer covered by a Qantas Defence deal

Just when the role of Qantas as ‘essential to the security of the country’ is getting a workout by its apologists, the airline has finished its disposal of Qantas Defence Services, the wholly owned subsidiary that provided maintenance for Hercules aircraft, performed essential work on the RAAF A330 MRTTs or Multi Role Tanker transports and maintained the two Prime Ministerial Boeing BBJs.

The sale of QDS to US defence aerospace enterprise Northrop Grumman was announced a year ago but only completed last week, the same day Qantas was revealing its $252 million underlying loss for its first half as well as the termination of the equivalent of 5000 full time positions.

This is the PR statement issued that day by Northrop Grumman.

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ —┬áNorthrop Grumman Australia Pty Limited, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation NOC +0.84% , announced that it has completed the acquisition of Qantas Defence Services Pty Limited, now called Northrop Grumman Integrated Defence Services Pty Limited (IDS), a provider of integrated logistics, sustainment and modernization support primarily to Australian Government and military customers. IDS operates as a part of Northrop Grumman Australia and is strategically aligned with the Integrated Logistics and Modernization division of Northrop Grumman Technical Services. The acquisition is not material to Northrop Grumman’s 2014 financial outlook.

 

“Northrop Grumman IDS enhances our in-country footprint and local capabilities, and demonstrates our commitment to the Australian and regional defence markets. We expect this to be an important platform for international growth in our key focus areas of unmanned, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization,” said Ian Irving, Northrop Grumman chief executive for Australia.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

The claim that Qantas has any substantive role that makes it vital to the security of Australia is nonsense. If the services of any Australian airline is required in a national emergency it can be compelled to co-operate under national emergency powers, assuming it has anything left to offer.

It has been a bad day for the gullibility and credibility of Labor when it comes to Qantas.

It began with shadow minister for employment, Brendan O’Connor, making the unfathomably ignorant statement on Sky News on three occasions in as many minutes that the Commonwealth Government is the majority shareholder in Qantas.

This was followed by Anthony Albanese the former Transport minister, claiming that the Qantas Sale Act required the airline to maintain regional services. It doesn’t. If Albanese’s six years as the minister for for transport didn’t include an intimate familiarity with the Qantas Sale Act what was he doing all that time?

Answers include protecting the Badgerys Creek site from development as a second airport while constantly claiming to support it, for what reason we can only guess, and going to the big Emirates party in Dubai where Qantas gave away much of its Australian connections to London and Europe to the world’s biggest government owned airline.

The press conference given by Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Albanese about the Qantas Sale Act followed this unedifying spectacle up with an embarrassing load of tosh about the importance of Qantas as a national carrier, something that the Joyce management that they are trying to protect from a Senate inquiry has been busy abandoning in recent years.

What on earth is going on in the Opposition? It is off in La La land, thinks the public still own the carrier, has a shadow minister who has no idea what is in the QSA but tries to con the public that he does, and was silent when the national carrier told most of the country to go away and fly Emirates instead, and a leader who appears to be trying to cover up the incompetency of a Qantas management that is sacking more than 5000 union members.

What a sorry shambles.

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