Flight Plan

Engineering an aircraft

MP Sajumon | Updated on: Feb 06, 2022

A Bombardier q400 airplane is being assembled at the Bombardier aircraft manufacturing facility in Toronto, November 25, 2010. Bombardier Inc said on Thursday production of its new C-Series airliner is on schedule and that it is pleased with the progress that United Technologies unit Pratt and Whitney is making on the plane's engine. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: BUSINESS TRANSPORT) | Photo Credit: MARK BLINCH

An aircraft has three critical phases; induction, in-service and redelivery

From an airline engineering and maintenance perspective, an aircraft has three critical phases; induction, in-service and redelivery. Each of these stages is critical. Manual intervention is required at each of these stages to ensure that the documents are in order to ensure regulatory compliance, and to be in line with lease agreements. Technology is at a nascent stage in the induction and redelivery part of an aircraft’s lifecycle. However, as an airline, a key differentiator is created if technological intervention is deployed for managing the daily operations, as this is the longest duration of all three phases of the aircraft. 

Tail mapping used by planning department:

Once the seasonal schedule is approved by the regulator, the marketing team shares the schedule with the engineering planning department. The biggest challenge faced by the engineering planning department is to identify the aircraft for the daily rotation, keeping in mind the maintenance checks due, ground time requirements to carry out maintenance, while at the same time keeping the variable cost minimum, and also ensuring that an opportunity for swapping of an aircraft is available in case the aircraft has to be routed to the main base for maintenance. In light of the ongoing pandemic, technology has greatly presented itself as an enabler to answer the critical question, “Which bird should fly and which should be parked to ensure that the airline has the minimum practical variable cost?”  The Tail Mapping tool is one such interface that brings the analytical capabilities of Python on board and gives an output of an efficient network planning model, while at the same time honouring the limiters set by the users. This has not only brought efficiency to the process, but has also enabled optimum utilisation of the fuel-saving A320NEOs to aid in our growing sustainability initiative, which is one of our core values. In simple terms, we call AMOS Mobile used by line maintenance, information at our fingertips. An aircraft engineer working at the ramp is empowered with real-time data from the Swiss AMOS (An engineering ERP solution).  This enables them to refer to the previous history of a snag and the troubleshooting steps done till now, minimising the number of telephonic calls made to the back-end office, simultaneously managing the time to focus on the core issue with utmost efficiency. Once the faulty component is identified, they are also able to check the available stock and issue a pink slip to the store in real-time. Precious time saved during a transit or maintenance slot ensures that the next flight pushes back on time.  Skywise Core and Skywise Health Monitoring used by maintenance, defect cell and technical services:  Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) gives prior information to the Maintenance Operations Centre (MOC) and the defects cell about an impending snag while the aircraft is still airborne, enabling the maintenance team to be better prepared to handle the snag of the mighty bird in terms of resources, necessary documentation, tools etc.  Proof of the pudding is in the heart of Skywise (Skywise Core). Here, the adventurous ones amongst the Allstars can play around with data (As multiple inputs from different systems are interfaced into Skywise) to visualise a customised dashboard; be it an open MEL (Minimum Equipment List) status, LLP life due or upcoming maintenance events to name a few initiatives in progress. Skywise Core is a mantra that is permeating through different sections of the airline, especially flight operations and maintenance, simply for the fact that Skywise Core can communicate well with other tools.

MP Sajumon is Sr. Manager - Projects, Contracts & New Initiatives|Engineering- AirAsia India 

Published on February 06, 2022
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