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Extending the Line Maintenance Solution -Part1

Aviation industry is fraught with fierce competition. As the industry structure does not promise great returns, major players survived in this industry by innovative approaches & services. Aviation is regulated by regulatory bodies and the compliances are mandatory on the safety and airworthiness aspects.  A typical air craft goes through four major kind of maintenance namely

  • Line Maintenance
  • Component Maintenance
  • Heavy Maintenance
  • Engine Maintenance

Definition for each of the maintenance types are taken from SAP Solution Composer.


Line Maintenance

Line Maintenance focuses on the planning and execution of maintenance services while the aircraft is assigned to the revenue schedule. The operational environment requires visibility of all new, deferred and cleared work items against an aircraft, enabling a longer reaction time window for planning and assignment of the work items to the executing line station. Visibility and management of the line station resources (i.e. technicians, parts, tools and documents) is crucial to ensure on time dispatch of the aircraft. Mobile access to all work item related information increases the execution efficiency of the technicians, enabling also the immediate confirmation of finished work items


Component Maintenance

Component Maintenance provides repair, overhaul, or refurbishment of components or major assemblies. Different sources can trigger component maintenance. If component maintenance is run as a separate line of business, services can be sold directly to customers. But component maintenance can also support the airframe and the engine maintenance business. In a closed loop scenario the component maintenance is directly triggered by the removal of the unserviceable component from the aircraft/engine, requiring the component to be sent back for installation after the overhaul/repair. In an open loop scenario the unserviceable components will be first stored, before being overhauled / repaired by the components shops based on the serviceable component stock levels, planned component requirements and available shop capacity 

Heavy Maintenance

Heavy Maintenance covers hangar maintenance for aircrafts, including the majority of the scheduled inspections; (usually) all check aligned tasks, engineering orders, deferred work items as well as additional work arising during the aircraft visit. Project management tools support the planning, packaging, scheduling and monitoring of the different maintenance tasks. Labor and spare part requirements can be planned upfront to drive capacity and material requirements planning. Inspection results, production data and configuration changes are recorded on the shop floor to enable real-time progress tracking 

Engine Maintenance

Within Engine Maintenance, complete aircraft engines are inspected, repaired and overhauled. The scenario covers activities like preparation of the overhaul, engine receipt, disassembly, cleaning & inspection, disposition, internal repair, external repair, assembly, test & support, shipping. Project management tools support the planning, scheduling and monitoring of the different tasks. 

Let’s examine how the airline strategies are structured and how maintenance especially Line Maintenance influence that.

Value driver for airline industry is profit per seat per miles flown. There are two key parts to it. These are revenue per seat per miles flown and the cost per seat per miles flown. 

Let’s analyze both revenue and cost components in a bit more detail using the tree diagram.



Most of these lead to faster turn-around to ensure better asset utilization. Maintenance especially line maintenance suffer here. But Safety of the aircraft & regulatory compliances lead to maintenance at regular interval. 

To ensure effective maintenance with faster turn around, Maintenance planning needs to be in synch with the flight schedules and the intervals available at various airports all across.  Coordinating the maintenance across various locations is difficult without an It backbone.Maintenance Planning is done centrally for most of the airlines and the jobs can be dispatched to various locations. But when the exceptions such as delayed flights happen, jobs need to be monitored & shifted to next possible location.  

Current Line Maintenance Solution does not support such a feature for line Maintenance as well as integration with flight schedule systems. Enterprise SOA provides a cue here by providing a platform to integrate & compose new processes. With Enterprise SOA, Line Maintenance functionalities can be extended. This extended line maintenance can be called as xLM. Details of xLM in the next part of this blog

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