Aircraft Maintenance Short-Term & Long-Term Planning Considerations

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Sofema Online (SOL) considers the primary differences between short and long-term maintenance planning.


Aircraft maintenance is a crucial aspect of aviation operations, and effective planning is essential to ensure that aircraft are maintained in a safe and efficient manner. Effective maintenance planning involves a combination of short-term and long-term considerations, including scheduling, availability of parts and equipment, personnel availability, cost-effectiveness, fleet management, maintenance programs, life cycle planning, and regulatory requirements. A well-planned maintenance program is essential to ensure the safety and reliability of aircraft, and to minimize downtime and costs associated with maintenance activities.

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 tasks so that the most effective work scope may be compiled to align with the available maintenance capacity.

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

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

The goal of optimisation is twofold:

» To reduce the number of maintenance events and at the same time free 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 savings even with a single aircraft.
» The goal is to optimize 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.

Short-term Considerations

» 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 requirements, and how to optimise or 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 spare holding and avoiding the necessity to rob components which will ultimately create the need to repeat the task twice.

Short-term considerations in aircraft maintenance planning include:

» Scheduling: Regular maintenance checks must be scheduled in advance to ensure that the aircraft remains operational and ready for flight.
» Availability of parts and equipment: Availability of parts and equipment is crucial for the maintenance process, and a plan must be in place to ensure that all necessary parts and equipment are readily available.
» Personnel availability: Adequate personnel must be available to perform the maintenance checks, and their schedules must be taken into account when planning maintenance activities.
» Cost-effectiveness: Maintenance activities must be carried out in a cost-effective manner, and the cost of maintenance must be taken into account when planning maintenance activities.

Long-term considerations in aircraft maintenance planning include:

» Fleet management: A comprehensive plan must be in place to manage the entire fleet of aircraft, including the maintenance of older aircraft and the acquisition of new aircraft.
» Maintenance programs: A maintenance program should be actively managed in conjunction with the reliability program to achieve the optimum outcome.
» Life cycle planning: The entire life cycle of the aircraft must be considered when planning maintenance activities, including the replacement of parts and equipment as they reach the end of their service life.
» Regulatory requirements: Regulatory requirements must be taken into account when planning maintenance activities, including airworthiness and safety requirements.

Next Steps

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