Airlines must change tactics to attract maintenace workers

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Introduction

April 18, 2019, © Leeham News: Airlines need to create a pleasing work environment even in the industrial atmosphere of “wrench turners” if they are going to attract millennials to become maintenance workers.

Boeing forecasts a need of more than 600,000 mechanics over the next 20 years.

Some airlines, like Delta, faces an aging workforce, which will produce a surge of retirements.

JetBlue, with a young workforce, faces the challenge of attracting young workers who find better paying jobs in other industries.

Even KLM found it has to change the work environment to attract young employees.

Here’s how their stepping up to these challenges.

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Union asks Congress to intervene in Boeing inspection issue

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By Bryan Corliss

April 15, 2019, © Leeham News: As Boeing faces federal investigations, shareholder lawsuits, Congressional hearings – and possibly subpoenas – linked to the 737 MAX crashes, another issue flying low on the radar could further complicate the company’s relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration and the elected officials who oversee it.

The issue revolves around the company’s plan to end quality control inspections for several thousand tasks performed by Boeing mechanics in the factory.

That plan – first reported by The Seattle Times in January – involves the use of more “smart tools” to perform work more precisely so that inspections will no longer be required for thousands of tasks. Instead of doing quality checks 100% of the time, as Boeing inspectors have been doing for generations, inspectors will sample 1-in-100 tasks, or maybe less, Boeing executives told the newspaper.

Now, the union for inspectors whose work is going away is asking its influential supporters in Congress to intervene with the FAA. It wants a chance to show the agency data it says proves that the new process will lead to more downstream rework on the assembly line, more injured workers and more production delays.

Summary
  • Borrowing from the auto business
  • Union says bad decisions put deliveries at risk
  • Boeing says new system brings down defects
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Training is a factor in the MAX crashes

 

By Scott Hamilton

April 15, 2019, © Leeham News: This column will no doubt light up the blog-o-sphere.
There’s been a major debate going on since the crash of Lion Air JT610, the Boeing 737-8 MAX that immediately became a huge controversy.

Boeing immediately blamed the pilots. So did some pilots of some US airlines, who said if the Lion Air crew had just flown the airplane, it wouldn’t have crashed. It was a training issue, some said.

Having got tremendous blow back over Lion Air, Boeing publicly held its tongue when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed five months later.

Still, Boeing officials quietly still said there was nothing wrong with the airplane.
Some US and Canadian pilots maintained, publicly and privately, that a lack of training and pilot skills in the Third World was responsible.

They’re not entirely wrong.

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Bjorn’s Corner: We are getting worldwide flight surveillance

Bjorn’s Corner

April 12, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In the wake of the 737 MAX accidents an important news event last week went almost unnoticed. After years of preparation, the worldwide coverage of ADS-B via Satellite receivers started with a trial service over the Atlantic.

It’s the Aireon Company which started the trial on April 2nd together with Nav Canada and UK’s NATS (National Air Traffic Control Services).

Figure 1. The Aireon worldwide Sattelite ADS-B receiver system. Source: Aireon.

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From the sidelines at MRO America, Day 2; the real reason for 737 production rate cutback

April 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Conversation from the sidelines of the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta on Day 2:

Ramping the 737 production back up

Boeing already has its plans for ramping production of the 737 back up from the current rate reduction of 42 airplane per month.

According to the information here, this is the schedule for ramping back up:
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Airlines show dramatic reductions in cancelations, squawks

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Introduction

April 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Airlines are showing dramatic reductions in canceled flights and aircraft maintenance squawks through its Skywise live diagnostics programs, the most recent of which was rolled out in the US with ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air in January.

Skywise Health Monitoring is the latest program in the Skywise suite of services offered by Airbus to carriers around the world. Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) joins Skywise Reliability Services (SRS) and Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM).

Airbus announced Allegiant’s participation yesterday at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta (GA).

Summary

  • Allegiant cites examples pinpointing one problem misreported, identifying a looming part failure before it happened.
  • Delta Air Lines dramatically reduced maintenance cancellations.
  • $850,000 in savings in one example.
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From the sidelines at the MRO Americas conference

April 10, 2019, © Leeham News: China will be the last country to review and approve fixes to the Boeing 737 MAX, according to the talk here on the sidelines of the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta.

Nobody knows, of course, when regulators will lift the MAX grounding orders. But none is looking for fast action.

And China, the first to ground the airplane, will be the last to lift the grounding, sideline talk here indicates.

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Trump proposes tariffs on Airbus; EU likely to retaliate against Boeing

April 9, 2019, © Leeham News: The European Union is likely to seek stiff tariffs against Boeing and other US exports in retaliation for the Trump Administration’s announcement yesterday it proposes $11bn in tariffs against Airbus and European exports.

The Trump tariffs are proposed in connection with a World Trade Organization appeals finding that Airbus failed to cure illegal subsidies for the A380 and A350.

Last month, the same WTO appeals process found Boeing and the US failed to cure illegal tax breaks to Boeing. Airbus claims at least $15bn in harm from these in lost sales.

Neither the US nor the EU may impose the tariffs in advance of yet another round of WTO proceedings. The disputes already have gone on for 15 years.

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Delta Tech Ops 5-year goal to double revenues

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Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines CEO.

April 9, 2019, © Leeham News: Delta Air Lines has the third largest third-party MRO company in North America and aggressively seeks to grow, in sharp contrast to its competitors.

While American and United airlines have limited their own maintenance, repair and overhaul, let alone seek third party business, Delta Tech Ops is a business unit and profit center. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said today that Tech Ops will achieve $1bn in revenues this year and has a goal of $2bn within five years.

Bastian was the lead-off speaker at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta this week.

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Boeing stock price resilient since Lion Air accident

April 9, 2019 (c) Leeham News: Boeing stock price has been remarkably resilient since the Lion Air crash.

The 737-8 MAX was five months old and the type had been in service only since May 2017.

It took a big hit on Oct. 29, when Lion Air JT610 crashed, closing at $357 per share.

By early January, the stock price not only recovered its losses, it climbed back to $440 by Feb. 25, a record high.

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