_Henry Canaday

_Henry Canaday
New Predictive MRO Tools Cut Costs
Airlines can perform predictive maintenance much more effectively because new aircraft yield more data, and the tools for exploiting it have improved dramatically. Yet ways of thinking and business processes also must change, which often is more difficult than tapping sensors.
Robust Outlook For Landing Gear Overhauls
Gears on Boeing aircraft represent the biggest opportunity for 2013.
Outsource Opportunities Grow In Line Maintenance 

Under fierce pressure to cut costs, even major carriers are turning to independent companies to handle line maintenance at stations where an airline's volume makes in-house support uneconomic.

Outsourcing opportunities can involve start-up carriers; or, airlines that simply do not have enough flights at particular airports to justify deploying maintenance staff and infrastructure.

Streamlining Maintenance Data Aids Innovation, Increases Efficiency
Common maintenance programs and data formats could save time and money.
Airframers Expand MRO Business
Even if making money in the airframe maintenance business is hard to do, a lot of companies still want to get into it.
Digitizing MRO Records Shows Need For Standardization
Airlines, leasing companies strive for common maintenance data standards for digital records.
Airlines And MRO Decipher Cloud Options For Data 
In the coming years, aircraft maintenance data will likely shift to cloud storage, which is simply a much more economical way of storing, sharing, managing and using data.
Equity Firms Add MRO IT To Hangar Investments 

Consolidation of MRO providers continues, with some buyers adding software to their hard hangar assets.

Moelis Capital Partners (MCP) recently acquired its third aviation services platform in the past two years with the purchase of Mxi Technologies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but industry analysts say it was valued at less than $100 million.

Equity Firms Take Interest In Consolidating MROs 
Aviation financiers and manufacturers remain strongly interested in consolidating maintenance, even if the process seems slow at times.
Industry Attempts To Cut Costs Of Lease Transfers 
Transferring leased aircraft between different regulatory authorities can cause headaches and add maintenance costs.
Avoiding Surprises Far Away 

Like many major carriers, United Airlines had developed its own in-house tools for doing diagnostics on its fleet. But around 2005 and 2006 the airline was starting to fly more routes to very distant destinations where the costs of having a grounded aircraft, and ferrying parts and repair crews, could be very high. So it took a look at Boeing's Aircraft Health Monitoring, speaking both to the airframe manufacturer and early adopters of the system.

Signing Off Faster 

Electronic signatures are not the final step, but they are one of the furthest steps toward all-electronic maintenance information. Combined with electronic documentation, e-signatures promise:

real-time information for technicians, maintenance and operations managers;

elimination of time wasted walking and signing paper documentation;

faster shift changes;

fewer errors;

faster audits;

saved time and cost in storing, managing, searching, analyzing and transmitting paper documents;

New Aircraft E-Challenges 

The Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 will offer maintenance managers more data for understanding aircraft and keeping them flying. But exploiting this data will require expensive investments, in engineers and information technology (IT) staff and in communication linkages. Justifying this financial commitment requires that non-maintenance departments also exploit the digital aircraft.

Visions of Faster Revisions 

Maintenance systems and all the data and documents associated with them must be revised constantly. This process is basically a boon. It means that the latest fleet-wide data from manufacturers, airline-specific experience and regulatory wisdom are reflected in shop procedures, making maintenance both safer and smarter.

Ready Or Not, NextGen Is Coming 

Start preparing for NextGen retrofit—even if NextGen may be a money-loser. That is a pessimistic way to read the FAA’s final rule mandating equipage for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out for all aircraft flying in U.S. Class A, B and C airspace, around busy airports and above 10,000 ft. by Jan. 1, 2020. The agency issued the final rule on May 28. FAA acknowledges that the present-value net benefits of the ADS-B Out rule could be negative if costs are higher than expected or if benefits are low or slow to come.

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