Ameriflight Improves Maintenance Efficiency

Credit: GE Digital

Ameriflight’s efforts to streamline maintenance paperwork is paying dividends—from shorter aircraft maintenance downtimes to less overtime pay in the records department. It also is a step toward its goal of having a digital maintenance operation, ideally by the end of 2022, Cliff Hansen, Ameriflight’s director of quality, tells Aviation Week.

Ameriflight worked closely with GE Digital to create a solution that cuts down the paperwork that shuttled between its 13 maintenance bases and its Dallas headquarters, where oversight functions take place.

While maintenance bases previously used to scan maintenance records into Ameriflight’s AirVault digital records management system, it could be up to a month before the records and quality control teams could see the scan—and they did not have a way to “move documentation up and down for corrections,” says Hansen.

This created bottlenecks for the maintenance bases and for the records department at the Part 135 cargo airline, which operates about 150 aircraft.

Over the course of a few months, GE Digital worked with Ameriflight to develop a system where the records analyst now initially previews the scans in the system to look for any errors or discrepancies—such as a missing signature, date or maintenance manual reference—that need to be corrected so maintenance bases can update the paperwork before sending the hardcopies to headquarters. This “eliminates a lot of paperwork that used to have to go back and forth sometimes multiple times,” says Hansen. “Now it gets flagged in the system and it’s a one shot deal,” he adds.

In addition, a new dashboard allows Hansen to quickly see throughput—including whether any maintenance bases are behind in paperwork. GE Digital created the custom dashboard with Microsoft Power BI, a business analytics service that provides interactive visualizations.

The dashboards show “what’s going on in a way that maintenance record never would,” says Andrew Coleman, general manager of GE Digital’s aviation software business. Instead of just viewing maintenance records as jut part of a regulatory requirement, Ameriflight “viewed this as an area to see hot spots, an area to see best practices, and area to improve maintenance and an area to improve planning,” he says.

Hansen says this new way to working and the insights available from the dashboards have had a “pretty significant impact” on Ameriflight’s operation and you can “feel its impact on the business.”

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.