Keeping Up Vs. Selling Up…
What methods should corporate flight department managers use when they need to keep up with the increasing maintenance needs of an aircraft? Obviously the safety of flight should not be traded-off in favour of short-term productivity gains. Maintenance needs must continue to be performed in accordance with the approved maintenance program if the aircraft continues to be operated.
The case is more for trade-offs of a financial nature. In the face of increasing maintenance and operating costs (e.g. fuel efficiency) decisions may lean towards acquiring a new aircraft. This requires a monitoring of aircraft utilization to estimate
when maintenance will start to become more expensive, as well as when the maximum number of flying hours (life limit) will be reached. This monitoring should support an advanced planning for alternatives.
Fleet planning decisions are never easy as fleet planning is far from a perfect science with several, often unpredictable variables. Currently low oil prices are making older aircraft economically viable that only a couple of years ago looked ripe to be scrapped.
In determining fleet needs and related timings, also consider frequency of operations, average sector length, seating capacity, crew qualification, performance requirements at frequented airports, and specific operational approvals needed. Depending on the sophistication of the operation, the use of mathematical models can support fleet planning and decision-making.
Author: Mario Pierobon
Kindly reproduced with the permission of AV Buyer.