First of all let me apologize for any inconvenience caused by these delays.
But rest assured Delta is not skimping on MX
. You have had a run of bad luck in that 3 out 4 of your Delta flights in the last month have had MX
delays. This is not normal as Delta's fleetwide TDR (technical dispatch rate) hovers around 98%.
In all three cases the maintenance issue was minor (battery problem, pressurization leak, and fuel leak)
While I would characterize the battery problem as minor, in that it should been able to be changed quickly, the press. leak and the fuel leak are, if out of serviceable limits, No-Go items.
In the case of the fuel leak, if it were a tank leak it requires a special crew of which Delta only has at ATL
, and TPA
. These crews require lots of special training and equipment and would have to have been flown in.
If it were an engine fuel line leak there would have been qualified MX
personnel at the station, but not necessarily the parts.
The pressurization leak takes time but usually not much in the way of special equipment unless there is structural damage requiring sheetmetal repair.
So I am curious if anyone knows if Delta is 1) minimizing its inventory of spare parts
It usually boils down to parts. Most if not all airlines have tried to streamline their parts inventory using JIT (just in time) inventory management. Rather than stocking every part at all places needed, they stock one or a few at a central location ready to ship where it's needed. It is sometimes taken a step further and not stocked at all and ordered when needed from a supplier. It's a great theory but it doesn't work so well at preventing long MX
Also, does Delta have an inventory system to track what parts and equipment are where? It seems they never know where the parts are when needed.
Yes, Delta does have an inventory tracking system for parts. Shipping parts is usually the delay.
and/or 2) reducing some of the non-mandatory maintenance in an attempt to cut costs?
As for reducing MX
to cut costs. Delta, like any Part 121 carrier, has a MX
program that is designed in cooperation with the FAA and the AC
Everything has to be approved by the FAA. That being said, the program is being revised on a constant basis. I don't know that economical conditions aren't a factor in the frequency of preventative MX
, but I do know that if they are, the safety of the operation remains the paramount consideration in MX
planning. The TDR may suffer and pax may be inconvenienced but safety is NEVER compromised.