Choosing the Right Aircraft Maintenance and Planning Software

It’s key to boosting your airline’s ROI, aircraft availability and predictability

The need to ground an aircraft for days is a nightmare scenario that every fleet maintenance manager grapples with. Aircraft on Ground (AOG) is a costly proposition, to say the least. A 2007 study conducted by the National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research found that AOG cost airlines a total of $31 billion that year alone. Since then, the industry has been galvanized by efficiency drives, and the pressure to lower costs has been palpable.
As airline maintenance organizations transition increasingly toward maintenance and planning software, they find themselves confronted with a glut of SaaS-based products. In the rush to modernize their organizations, fleet maintenance managers discover that the market is filled with systems all claiming to control expenses and increase air traffic faster and better than their competitors. It’s enough to leave any fleet manager’s head in the clouds.
What should a manager look for when shopping around for aircraft maintenance and planning software? Here are some suggestions of features to review with sales representatives who contact your company touting the universal solution for your airline’s bottom line.

Cost-cutting features

1. Will the new software continually review your parts inventory and make recommendations on keeping supplies at optimum levels? Can you customize the review for daily, weekly or less-frequent notifications? Will the software’s supply updates include all part information, including manufacturers, part numbers, and which aircraft in your fleet require the part? Will this capability reduce waste by preventing orders of unnecessary stock?
2. Does the software find openings to schedule more aircraft for maintenance at the same time? Can it comb through your organization’s bandwidth, employee by employee, and get more aircraft serviced in less time?
3. Find out if the operating system can improve the visibility of information and communicate it across your teams to reduce response times.
4. Is there an autofill feature that prefills commonly used service log forms, permitting your organization to accelerate its maintenance schedule?
5. When last-minute changes arise, will the program permit you to change maintenance requirements, revise the plan, and then effortlessly communicate the resource to management and staff alike? Can new requirements from Operations or Marketing be evaluated and planned, with the resulting
6. Most importantly, can the software provide enough long-term insight into your planning and scheduling (predicting resource availability and peak periods of activity) that you can accurately report organizational budgeting far into the future? Can the software help you adapt a “Just in Time” production strategy? Can it predict the next five years of your organization’s expenditures and steadily lower them as it finds efficiencies?

Aircraft availability features

1. Is the fleet durable enough to actually increase air traffic? Take the age of your fleet into consideration. It may be necessary to adjust your maintenance schedules to include more frequent service dates. If this affects the number of flights you can keep the aircraft in operation, meet with your maintenance team and financial officers to discuss whether you can stay on this schedule or require additional expenditures to acquire younger aircraft.
2. Can the software find gaps in your flight schedules that can be filled with aircraft in rotation? Can it update your plans automatically and send the changes electronically to scheduling team members and flight crews? You may not be able to find flexibility in your aircraft availability, but with the right software, you won’t have to, as the program will spot opportunities and bring them to your attention.
3. Scheduling conflicts are a fact of life for airlines. If planes suddenly develop maintenance issues or inclement weather threatens your schedule, can you update these changes in your software and update your team immediately? The better operating systems can, and it’s important to confirm this with the sales representative.

A complete aircraft maintenance and planning solution

Automation is the key to getting more planes in the air and keeping them there longer. And Ames software from Omega automates maintenance scheduling as no other program can, with unique features and benefits that competitors don’t offer. No airline likes surprises, and Ames software covers more “What if” scenarios and last-minute changes in scheduling to retain fleet flexibility and extend fleet service life. Click here to learn more about Ames, the only fleet maintenance scheduling solution that can help you predict the future