As mentioned in the previous blog (Extending the Line Maintenance Solution -Part1), one of the key aspects of an efficient maintenance planning is the ability to adapt to the changes & ensure the completion of planned jobs. Let us analyze the flight scheduling & maintenance scheduling in a little bit more detail.
Flights are scheduled to ensure maximum asset utilization as well as revenue maximization (depends on the target of the organization, either market share or profitability). Flight schedules are managed by complex legacy systems and are integrated with booking systems. Flight schedule systems can give the details of a particular aircraft.
Maintenance is triggered either by number of hours flown or the number of times the event occur (for example, landing gear maintenance is linked to the number of landings & take offs).
SAP and non SAP maintenance planning systems provide the planning & scheduling of the maintenance activities based on the different tasks defined. These tasks are as prescribed by the manufacturer or added based on the experience of the airline maintenance engineering team. There are regulatory compliances associated with most of the maintenance task lists. These tasks need to be completed in time. In theory, each of the maintenance events are planned centrally & executed. This can be either by taking the aircraft out of service for major repair or maintenance or by assigning the maintenance tasks to maintenance crews in different landing stations in case of line maintenance .
But in reality, delays are common in the schedules due to variety of reasons and planned maintenance may be postponed to ensure faster turn around. Another key parameter considered in Aircraft On Ground (AOG). Wikipedia defines AOG as “Aircraft on Ground (AOG) is a term in aviation maintenance indicating that a problem is serious enough to prevent an aircraft from flying”. Where ever there is a chance for AOG, it can be detected in advance and maintenance can be planned for the next available window to avoid AOG.
One of the ways of getting around this and enable a new model of utilizing the first opportunity for maintenance without affecting the turn around time is a composite application which helps in enabling the central planner to schedule the jobs for a particular line station. At the line station, maintenance technician can check the job scheduled for a particular aircraft with time & finish it without affecting the turn around. Flight schedule and the window for maintenance will be available from the flight scheduling system.
A representative composite process flow with underlying it systems is shown in the diagram
The flight schedule is drawn from the flight schedule system. Input parameters are expected time of arrival and expected time of departure. This gives the window available for maintenance if any.
There is a maintenance scheduling engine which helps in scheduling the jobs to various line stations. This can be modified by the maintenance planner.
A maintenance technician can check the jobs scheduled for a particular aircraft with time. Alerts can be sent to the technician on his mobile. Once the job is completed, it can be updated in the composite.
This simple composite idea can help to improve on time maintenance as well as faster turn around time. In the next blog, I will discuss other ideas to extend the line maintenance using Enterprise SOA