It's more human than machine.
Let’s forget about the idea of getting the part to the aircraft, rather, think about the people and cargo the aircraft is carrying. Think about the soon to be grandparents flying to celebrate the birth of their first grandchild. Put yourself in the shoes of the parent returning home from a week-long work trip trying to get home to kiss their kid good night or make it home in time for a game, school play, or recital. A college student returning home for the holidays. A child’s first flight and trips to Disney. The pilots and crew that are trying to get home after being away for weeks. What about the cargo on the flight, maybe a transplant making its way to a patient? Or, parts required to return another aircraft to service?
The point is, very few people fly just for the fun of it. Most of us have a good reason to fly and some more so than others. Cargo on an aircraft isn’t just taking a ride for the fun of it either, it is needed at another destination. The aircraft is merely a tool used to provide a service to individuals and businesses. We are a part of that service! We must be one team as an internal organization as well as one team with our clients and we accomplish this by being customer-obsessed 100% of the time!
Money, money, money.
An AOG costs the average US carrier on average $35k per hour in lost revenue, rescheduling crew or aircraft, compensation for passengers, parts & shipping and downline delays.
What is a downline delay you ask?
When an aircraft goes out of service and the airline has to move aircraft, people and resources around this can and in most cases, will cause a downline delay. A single aircraft being out of service can cause further delays down the line for other flights and or aircraft. This single delay can create a snowball effect meaning that one flight being delayed can cause other flights to be delayed even if those aircraft have no issues.
Pilots, crew, and the DOT.
Pilots and crew members are restricted similar to truck drivers by the DOT. It is possible that the pilot or flight crew member’s schedule will time out and a new crew will have to be called in to support the flight. This could mean that even if the aircraft is returned to service, they might not have a crew to operate the flight causing further delays or cancelation of the flight.
What's at stake for airline employees we deal with every day?
AOG operators, buyers or MX Control at airlines are tasked with finding the necessary parts to return the aircraft to service as well as coordinate the maintenance personnel in some cases. Many times, the airline may not have the part in stock and will have to source the part from repair, open market or they might borrow the part from another airline. Once the part is found, they have to arrange the shipping and manpower to make the repairs. After the part is found, shipping is arranged and ETA is confirmed, the operator will report the parts ETA and MX will estimate the expected return to service time based on the time to complete repairs. If the part is delayed, this schedule needs to be reworked and it is possible that a new maintenance crew will need to be scheduled or that the part will arrive after the maintenance facility closes.
These operators are dealing with multiple AOG situations just as we are dealing with multiple shipments. We must build trust through communication with every shipment. This communication must be timely and accurate. Bad news just gets worse as it ages.
Killing time for the airline parts vendors.
Many vendors we pick up from are not open 24/7 and have people on-call to assist with AOG pickups. Often these folks are leaving the comfort of their beds to await our commanders to pick up. If we have a delay, it is important to relay this info to the vendor so they can be made aware and adjust.
Killing time for airline mechanics.
The same thing goes for after-hours drop-offs at outside vendor maintenance facilities when we are delivering to MX personnel off-site.
One of the ways we are impactful every day is through our innovative mindset. We strive to improve our technology and service every day with an open-door policy for new ideas. We added geofence alerts to our service offering which directly combats the above issue allowing personnel to remain tasked on other issues and be alerted at the right time for the parts arrival.
AOG operators at the airlines are held accountable for the parts, shipments and schedules they relay down the line. Many airlines keep an AVL (Approved Vendor List) and allow the operators to choose the forwarder or service they feel they can depend on as long as they are on the AVL. If a shipment is delayed and causes the airline to suffer further delays with aircraft or personnel, many times this will reflect on the AOG operator. This could affect their choice in service providers moving forward.
At Airspace, we are passionate about our mission to make shipping faster, safer, and more transparent than it’s ever been through people, service, and technology. Our core values being alive in every transaction is what sets Airspace Technologies apart from our competition.
Typical AOG Flow at the Airline.
- Aircraft is written up by pilot, crew or maintenance for an issue. Or, the aircraft has an issue that is not dependent on flight operations but wasn’t corrected before the time expiration.
- MX performs checks to determine the root cause, communicates fault and parts required with Maintenance control.
- Maintenance Control will order the part, order is sent to the buyer’s group.
- AOG Buyer will source the part from inventory, spares, repair vendor, parts broker, open market or in some cases they will direct the cannibalization of the part from another aircraft in Maintenance.
- Once the part is located, shipping is ordered by the AOG Buyer.
- Once the ETA of the part is known, the AOG Buyer will inform Maintenance Control.
- Maintenance Control will now inform Maintenance operations who will ensure personnel will be onsite to perform the MX and establish the estimated repair time and back to service time estimate.
- The back to service time is given to crew scheduling to verify that the crew scheduled for the aircraft will have enough remaining time to operate the flight. If not, they will need to reschedule the crew for this and other flights.
- If all goes well and everyone (including us) does their job well the aircraft is returned to service, crew has remaining time and passengers and cargo get their destinations.
If we have delays in getting the part delivered, this process most likely starts again and can have a ripple effect down the entire airline flight schedule.