Qantas cuts will delay flights - union

Qantas is cutting 167 jobs from its engineering division as part of its ongoing turnaround plan, prompting the union to warn the move will lead to flight delays.

Qantas staff were told of the job losses in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The cuts are the latest in 5000 jobs the airline announced in February it was shedding as part of a $2 billion cost-cutting program over three years.

Qantas Domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said the airline did not need as many engineering staff as it was retiring older aircraft and buying new planes that required less maintenance.

One example was that the airline's fleet of older Boeing 767 aircraft had been reduced from 20 to 12, and the remainder were to be retired by early 2015.

"The simple fact is as we are retiring our older aircraft, aligning our maintenance systems with Boeing recommendations and implementing process improvements, we need fewer engineering employees," Mr Strambi said.

However, Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association federal secretary Steve Purvinas said sacking the engineers would result in Qantas being "drastically undermanned" and place pressure on maintenance crews to "cut corners" to get Qantas planes out on time.

"Our members will not jeopardise safety and allow that to happen, so more than likely we are going to see in the future there is going to be quite a few delays on Qantas aircrafts," he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

He predicted staff shortages would require the company to defer repairs on aircrafts and force planes to be grounded.

The company's turnaround plan has so far led to the loss of 2200 jobs, including catering, freight and air and ground crew positions.

The latest cuts will affect 73 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers, 58 engineers in components maintenance services and 36 support and administration roles.

A total of 4000 jobs, including 1500 management roles, are set to be shed by the end of June 2015.

The national carrier posted a $252 million half-year loss in February, mainly driven by a domestic battle with rival Virgin Australia, fierce competition on international routes and problems with Jetstar.

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