Aircraft maintenance

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1.0 Introduction.

The aircraft maintenance scheduling process is very detailed and encompasses the inputs of various departments of an airline. The maintenance programme needs to be efficient and cost effective. To establish a good maintenance programme there needs to be a liaison with the marketing, flight operations, engineering and finance departments so that the regulatory requirements of the airworthiness of the aircraft can be maintained.

The objective of this paper is to produce a cost effective and efficient maintenance programme for KalAir. This will be based on one aircraft type operating on the domestic route and another aircraft type operating on the regional/international routes. The study will cover

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  1. A 10 year maintenance plan.
  2. A suitable type of maintenance programme.
  3. In-house or outsourcing decisions.
  4. Type of skills required and the number of staff

The aircraft chosen to operate the domestic route will be the ATR 72-500. The aircraft has the capability to use a propeller brake hence there is no need for an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) when the aircraft is on ground. This will save weight on the aircraft and there will be less component maintenance costs and less spares will be required. The ATR 72 powered by the PW127F engines provides outstanding short field performance even on difficult hot and high airfields and this will be very useful for KalAir as most of its domestic destinations have short fields which are both hot and high.

The A318 aircraft is chosen for the regional/international routes because fewer aircraft is required in the first 5 years compared to the E190 and this would save KalAir some money with its upfront capital outlay. Also similar type of aircraft in the A320 family is used in the region, hence more maintenance options and expertise will be available and higher spares availability can be achieved through spares pooling.

2.0 Purpose of Maintenance

Maintenance is defined as ‘the action necessary to sustain or restore the integrity and performance of the airplane’ (Hessburg 2001). This will be achieved by carrying out the necessary inspections, repair, overhaul and the replacement of parts. Maintenance processes can be divided into three different categories namely hard time, on condition and condition monitoring. The hard time process requires the item to be removed and overhauled or discarded before exceeding a set time interval. This time interval can be based on calendar time, flight hours, flight cycles or at check intervals. The on condition process is where the item will be checked and tested periodically to see whether it meets the test standards and deterioration limits before deciding to replace the item. The condition monitoring process can either be a failure based or a predictive maintenance process if there is a trend analysis of the failure rates recorded.

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