October 3, 2007 By Gary Watson
A new company is entering the commercial aviation maintenance
industry with a product that will reduce operating costs for both
operator and manufacturer. Raytheon Canada Ltd. (RCL) is introducing
its successful military parts logistics program to the regional
airlines market. Located in Calgary, RCL has been providing a
materials-management information system to many of the world's military
services to track both airborne and land-based assets. It feels that
its products and services will be of significant benefit to commercial
aviation customers who want both to track parts and have an
up-to-the-minute analysis of the reliability status of all components
in their inventories.
The highly complex aviation maintenance and support industry creates
numerous challenges for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs),
Approved Maintenance Organizations (AMOs) and aircraft operators.
Operating costs continue to climb, often in areas beyond a company's
direct control – taxes, user fees, fuel prices.These costs affect the
bottom line of all companies and are closely scrutinized by management
and financial personnel. Material and maintenance support costs,
however, can be directly controlled by companies and numerous methods
have been employed to reduce the direct operating costs of aircraft by
cutting both maintenance costs and spare inventory overheads.
AMOs, OEMs and operators employ a number of strategies to reduce
maintenance costs, including more efficient scheduling of aircraft
inspections, reducing inventories of spares and tracking Line
Replaceable Unit (LRU) repair costs. In large companies this is often
carried out by complex maintenance tracking programs – some developed
in-house, others purchased from a variety of software developers. The
key function of many of these programs is to track all time and cycle
items to ensure they are replaced on the aircraft when required, are
repaired or recertified at the appropriate facility, and have a
traceable history for Transport Canada or other regulatory bodies.