Aircraft Maintenance Planning Short Term & Long Term Considerations

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Airlines perform aircraft maintenance in order to ensure aviation safety and schedule punctuality. Sitting alongside this is the desire to also perform efficiently, arranging the manpower to have the optimum level of competence requires a considerable effort to ensure that the availability matches the requirement.

Whilst the “almost” universal approach to large aircraft maintenance afforded by MSG 3 delivers the potential of a very effective task orientated maintenance program, the very real challenge presented to Planners is how to decide on the best way to package these task so that the most effective workscope may be compiled to align with the available maintenance capacity.

Within every company exists the balance between availability, utilisation and maintenance requirements to understand fully the criteria which is applicable and to make focused decisions becomes the key to optimising the cost of maintenance.

We should in addition ensure that we prioritise safety at all times. Maintenance cost saving which can be driven by effective optimisation can be significant and generate a real advantage to the organisation for example by delivering a commercial opportunity for increased operation.

There will also be unexpected events, defects or other maintenance findings which require an additional actions, for example Borescope inspection or structural repair requirements.

The goal of optimisation is twofold – to reduce the amount of maintenance events and at the same time freeing up the actual hangar time required for the fleet, whilst this opportunity is of course more relevant to larger fleets it is still possible to make significant saving even with a single aircraft.

The goal is to optimise the task yield to as close as the theoretical maximum and in so doing to avoid unnecessary repetition of the same task, which if magnified across the fleet would be a significant expenditure in any business year.

An effective short-term program for managing maintenance manpower supply will consider the competence management and oversight program to review and act on training plans, recruitment policies, certification requirement and how to optimise or to develop a grouping or buddy pairing system approach.

It is necessary to actively manage the deferred defect findings in the most efficient way by maintaining the correct spares holding and avoiding the necessity to rob components which will ultimately create the need to repeat the task twice.

Utilising computer systems is a major benefit to support the planning process, however it is essential to ensure that we have an experienced training and competent planning workforce and to recognise that the computer is a tool to support the function which still needs to be managed.

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