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Maintenance Is A Critical PORTION OF Any Airline Operation Business Essay

Maintenance is a critical part of any flight operation. As an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holder, an airline must be considered a Part M Continuing Airworthiness Management Company (CAMO) under Western european Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) polices. Under these regulations, the flight is ultimately responsible for the maintenance and airworthiness of all its aircraft, therefore the decision to outsource such a task must be carefully considered to be able to examine all the associated risk. An air travel should never only decide which kind of maintenance activities, if any, it could want to carry out in-house, but also determine between different maintenance providers for the actions it desires to outsource. Different organisations will have different worth and civilizations, and an air travel must decide on an company it can trust with such responsibility.

When starting up a new flight, there is a large emphasis on cost. A whole lot of capital and resources will be needed to create a maintenance center, and a fresh start-up airline will need to target its attention and resources on acquiring aircraft and growing routes. '"Airlines that outsource have the ability to give attention to their center businesses and can reduce their set costs related to facilities, training and manpower", says ST Aerospace leader Chang Cheow Teck' [1]. You can argue that maintenance is a main activity of an flight as a component M company; however outsourcing of several activities is common for many airlines, particularly the low cost carriers and new start-up airlines. Generally it would be costly for an air travel to set up its own maintenance centre; hence outsourcing it to another company that specialises in such activities is more financially viable.

When taking into consideration the activity to be outsourced, the flight must assess whether it can form the functions of performing some task itself, or whether all activities will be provided by an external organisation. When analysing the maintenance of your aircraft, the air travel must consider both lines and base maintenance. Range maintenance includes general checks which might be carried out after each trip, daily or weekly. They don't generally pull the aircraft out of service for huge amounts of the time and can be carried out at the gate. Foundation maintenance is generally considered for much bigger task, and involves the aeroplanes being out of operation for a larger length of time, in a hanger, whilst the maintenance is conducted.

The decision to outsource bottom, line or both types of maintenance activities must be carefully considered. In order to perform any maintenance activity, the flight would have to be a Part 145 approved maintenance company for the sort of aircraft they would like to operate. To carry out maintenance activities, investment will be necessary for tools, equipment, labour, hanger and other overheads. Generally basic maintenance would require a lot more investment in greater hangers, more labour, and much more equipment and tools in order to handle larger maintenance process, whereas range maintenance will demand relatively less investment. Therefore it is a lot more common for airlines to outsource platform maintenance to specialist repair centres, but keep lines maintenance in-house.

In a written report released by the North american Federal Aviation Supervision (FAA) on your choice of airlines to outsources their maintenance, it found that 'Cost personal savings was the motivating element in the decision to outsource, a decision which takes under consideration the personnel, training, and tools and test equipment essential to complete the maintenance activity. ' [2]

Figure 1: Typical Outsourced Activities. [2]

Figure 1 shows typical activities outsourced by airlines. It shows that large maintenance jobs are additionally outsourced by airlines, most likely because of the high cost and knowledge in labour required. Where brand maintenance was outsourced, it was known in the record that this was generally conducted at airports where the flight didn't have a base. Airlines have attempted to keep collection maintenance in house where possible; however some external assistance is still required at times.

As a fresh start-up airline, however, will have limited capital when setting up, therefore these resources must be prioritised through the start up. Careful consideration must be produced regarding the cost benefit examination and cash flow of the airline during its set up in order to assess whether the investment in a maintenance center would be worthwhile, or whether outsourcing all activities would be more beneficial to this new carrier.

As well as considering the price tag on outsourcing maintenance activities, consideration should also get to the rules encompassing the industry. Eventually the airline, as the AOC holder, is accountable for the maintenance and airworthiness of most its aeroplanes as a component M registered company. Regardless of the activity being outsourced, the airline is accountable for its aircraft; therefore serious trust has been put on the maintenance company. Such maintenance organisation must be Part 145 authorized, with Part 66 licence workers to certify any work completed.

The maintenance industry is intensely regulated, as with the aviation industry as a whole. There are several barriers to beat to be remembered as a qualified company to ensure that the operations of the company comply with security polices. A maintenance company must persuade the appropriate expert that it meets such polices, and the business procedures are good required targets.

To turn into a certified Part 145 company, the organisation will need to have suitable hangers to carry out the specified work, with appropriate tools and facilities. It must be sure its working environment is controlled to ensure that work is carried out in sufficient conditions. It must identify approved management, and ensure appropriate degrees of certified staff. It must plan creation before carrying out work, ensuring that all the required staff, tools, equipment and facilities are in place to be able to meet a required order.

The regulations designate careful control over the gear and tools used in the company. It must be appropriately stocked all the time for its scheduled work, and used the specified tools and equipment unless permission is awarded by the appropriate specialist. All equipment should be calibrated as necessary, and files kept consequently. All components used must be approved components, and registered appropriately before used. The organisation must also keep exact data of all maintenance activity which will be fed back again to the manufacturer in order to enhance the overall security of the world fleet.

The organisation is also accountable for insuring the company has an excellent system in place. It must provide the appropriate specialist with a Maintenance Company Exposition (MOE) outlining the business's framework, staffing, facilities, work opportunity, and quality systems [3]. It has become commonplace for those organisations in the aviation industry to be an ISO 9001 (International Expectations Organisation) certified organisation, and many organisation will not work with non ISO 9001 qualified company. This means that the business has a firm Quality Management System (QMS). QMS aspires to ensure that the methods of an organisation are reliable and effective, and the buildings and construction of the company is well described. An company 'needs to show its capacity to constantly provide product that satisfies customer and appropriate statutory and regulatory requirements, and aims to enhance client satisfaction through the effective application of the system. ' [4].

Although the airline may have outsourced its maintenance, it will still have obligations as a component M certified company. The airline will be in charge of creating a maintenance program, predicated on the maintenance review board's record from the aircraft producer. The maintenance program will fine detail all maintenance tasks for the plane, and the interval between such jobs. It will be accountable for producing a trustworthiness report predicated on the maintenance program in order to assess the reliability of varied components. This data can then be fed back into the maintenance review panel report to improve the reliability of the entire world fleet. The flight may also be in charge of flight inspections, as well as ensuring that the aircraft complies with any airworthiness directives granted by the relevant authorities. All work must be recorded properly as well as information regarding flights, technical faults, maintenance, and maintenance activities. As the duty of the airplane safety lies with the flight, they will be accountable to certify the airplane is fit for goal after any maintenance is carried out.

Another issue increased by the FAA was the difficulty of communication channels between the regulators, airlines and maintenance providers.

Figure 2: Communication channels with in-house maintenance. [2]

Figure 3: Communication programs with outsourced maintenance. [2]

From numbers 2 and 3, it could be seen that the communication channels are more complicated with outsourced maintenance. There is a more impressive range of management required with outsourced maintenance, which can result in higher levels of problems between organisations. The FAA is specially concerned with the increased probability of errors. 'Introducing any software between those who operate the airplane and the ones who perform the maintenance must add an error probable, which is absent in in-house functions. ' [2].

When outsourcing maintenance, security is the most important factor for air travel when deciding which organisation to trust. Airlines will also be considering cost and performance of the organisation. The air travel will be looking at performance indicators such as Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and Security Performance Indicators (SPI). KPI strategy how well the company is running, and the on-time performance of the organisations. SPI measure the protection of the organisation and 'are thought as any way of measuring that is causally related to accidents or injuries, found in addition to a count up of accidents or injuries, in order to indicate safeness performance or understand the procedure that leads to mishaps. ' [5]. It steps just how many incidences are related to the maintenance company, and is employed as a way of examining the safety associated with an organisation.

A key concern on the market is the trade-off between doing work carefully, and timely. Maintenance organisations are under mass pressure from airlines to produce work quickly in order to boost the availability of the aircraft. You can find financial penalties for the organisation for later deliveries; which means temptation will there be for employees to cut sides. This is a sizable safety risk, which must be managed by the company. Airlines will also be considering SPI's in an effort to ensure corners are not being trim, and there isn't a poor protection record of the repair place. Therefore maintenance organisations are also under great pressure to keep their basic safety record up to possible.

A major concern arises between keeping high KPI's and SPI's. Maintenance organisations have become a major industry within the aviation sector. More and more as airlines outsource, repair station are constantly rivalling for business. It becomes a lot more tempting for company to put ever more pressure on personnel to work faster and safer, however hurrying work will adversely have an impact on safety. The two generally cannot be achieved together. In today's money driven culture, it is a lot more tempting to cover up the flaws of the business, artificially increasing the SPI of the business, making it appear to be a better organisation above its competitors. Even though practice is outlawed, increase pressure for business will without doubt tempt managers to artificially improving the company's standings.

Figure 4: Methods used to recognize potential maintenance providers. [2]

Figure 4 shows how airlines decide after maintenance providers. It shows that airlines will generally look carefully at the company to understand the prices and civilizations of the organisation to observe how the organisation operates. Additionally airlines are conducting on site goes to and interviews with workers to understand the way the organisation operates to be able to asses if this organisation is worth its business. '"The first thing we look at is the culture of the company. And obviously once i discuss quality, it is what's the security culture and can they get the job done well. Quality, safe practices and experience is important. " says JetBlue vice-president technical businesses Dave Ramage' [1].

Figure 5: Labor force considerations for maintenance providers. [2]

Figure 5 shows what airlines check out when assessing the workforce of the maintenance specialist. Generally the airlines check out all factors when looking at the workforce, however the amounts of certifying staff was the most important. This is due to the safety implications of non-certified specialized staff conducting work, and having less certifying staff having enough time to certify work conducted by non-certified technicians.

Another key factor is the positioning of such organisation. More and more, maintenance centres are being developed in countries with an increase of relaxed laws and regulations, and cheaper pay. This makes these organisations less expensive; however there's a major concern in the current population about outsourcing to international organisations. Many dispute that, even though the organisation may be completely certified, the amount of safety may well not be as high as organisations in the homeland. Many dread that the regulators cannot monitor overseas companies as effectively, and the frequent drive to contend with other organisations helps it be easier for standards to slide. 'The problem with outsourcing, especially to maintenance and repair retailers located abroad, is these retailers are difficult to keep an eye on. The FAA is required to inspect and keep an eye on many of these frequently through a system of assessments and balances. According to the DOT's Inspector General, this system is flawed. ' [6]

Although most airlines choose to outsource part, if not all, of these maintenance, many of the large carriers have overtime developed their own maintenance facilities, and are now providing their services to other airlines. Lufthansa has developed a profitable maintenance centre in Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa in-house MRO department, which gets 55% of its work from other airlines [1]. However Lufthansa has developed these facilities over several ages, and the industry has developed significantly since. '"We would not decide to do it again today. We are just able to deliver this service for commercial airplanes because of the fact that we've done it over 50 years, " says Lufthansa Technik's chairman [1]. It can be argued that innovative airlines can make a success of their maintenance facilities like Lufthansa did, however it would need a brave airline with enough resources to take on the chance, and emerge in to the market, which is difficult to find in this money driven society.

The decision to outsource must be weighed based on several factors. Establishing a maintenance center in-house requires a great deal of investment, although it might be cheaper in the long run. Often it is more good for the limited capital and poor cashflow of a start-up flight to outsource such activities to an expert organisation. This does not mean the flight can outsource its obligations, and as such still needs specialist within its own organisation to build up coherent maintenance programs. Choosing an company to trust with such activities entails extensive research in to the workings, cultures, and plans of such organisations to ensure that not only is this organisation prompt in reaching deadlines, but can side the aircraft back in a safe, airworthy condition. An flight can never neglect the value of retaining its aeroplanes, but it must be sure whatever decision is made, safety is never affected.

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