Thursday, September 13, 2012

Line Maintenance Outsourcing

Line maintenance is seeing growth as more airlines, struggling with high fuel prices, see this as another area they no longer need in-house. New generation aircraft need outside maintenance specialists who can focus on high-tech entertainment systems, seating, galleys and lavatories.
The one qualification to this is the retirement of older aircraft, with replacement models that have longer specified intervals between inspections. As well as the high tech end, outsourced work will include cabin interiors, which is comparatively low-tech. When you consider repairing an armrest on a seat, for example, that is better outsourced, freeing up skilled mechanics for skilled activities.
Long-haul, widebody aircraft, operators offering a high degree of premium class services,legacy carriers, which typically operate large aircraft on long international flights, will start to shift more of their line work to third-party vendors. Line work has not been heavily outsourced to date, but overnight checks can be economically attractive offering efficiencies, without sacrificing operational performance.
Reciprocal carrier line maintenance contracts may be a casualty of these developments. High tech tasks will require additional training for people who work on some of the in-cabin systems, such as in-flight entertainment, galleys, lavatories and seating.
So, aircraft maintenance, including a comprehensive range of services from A checks and scheduled engine changes, through cabin cleaning and servicing, AOG service and total care programmes relating to cabin maintenance, particularly with respect to in-flight entertainment systems, on-wing engine support, LRU exchange programs and overnight checks with an efficient use of ground time, is the future. This future will be evolutionary, dictated by economics.

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