Max Q
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Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:18 pm

So which Airline in the world do you think maintains their Aircraft best ?



My number one choice would be Lufthansa.



What do you think ?
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747classic
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:35 pm

It depends if the aircraft are owned, financial leased or operational leased by an airline and the safety awareness of the supervising authorities, were the aircraft is registered.

If the airline is planning to operate the aircraft for a long time (owned or financial lease normally 18, 20 or even 25 years) most airlines are performing a full corrosion detection/protection program and/or will perform the HMV in "house", if the fleet is large enough. Otherwise cooperation is sought with other airlines for combined maintenance or a well established MRO is selected.

Depending on the lessor, these expensive corrosion programs are normally not done on an aircraft operational leased for a short period (lesser than 10 years).

Also the "maintenance mind set" in the airline concerned is important. In most airline board meetings maintenance is not a popular topic and in the recent financial difficult years the heavy maintenance of most aircraft is performed at the cheapest maintenance locations, spread all over the world. The quality of some of these "cheap" HMV's is however to say it politely : "not very consistent".



I would vote for Lufthansa, BA, KLM (my biased mind set) and Qantas.(the last year they had some issues, but QF never lost an aircraft)
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Max Q
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:42 pm

Very interesting. It has always been fascinating to me that, in particular B747's can look so good and be so viable as commercial aircraft after 20-30 years of operation.
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zeke
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:02 pm

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):

I would look at one of the Royal Flights airlines.

The quality of work done by LH seems to vary, I seem to recall some allegations of maintnance items being missed by LH in the Philippines on QF aircraft
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Max Q
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:07 pm

Quoting zeke (Reply 3):

I would look at one of the Royal Flights airlines.

The quality of work done by LH seems to vary, I seem to recall some allegations of maintnance items being missed by LH in the Philippines on QF aircraft

Good point, I think that what I was trying to get at was commercial airline transports that are in the best shape for their age.
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:48 pm

My vote goes to Iran Air. 35 year old 747s, still flying daily, and with minimal outside support. Given that, their safety record isn't that bad.
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Fabo
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:58 pm

I would venture a guess that on average, all German airlines would be well maintained... well with Germans being Germans and all...
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roseflyer
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:19 pm

I have some general experience, so will try to make some generalizations. When comparing airlines, it is always the Japanese Airlines that are at the top. JAL and ANA almost always lead every other airline in dispatch reliability. They tend to spend the most on maintenance and have the best maintained planes.

Along with JAL are the premium airlines in Asia such as Singapore, Korean, Asiana, etc.

The middle tier operators tend to be the Middle Eastern and European Airlines.

The bottom tier tends to be the US airlines.

Airlines in smaller markets and developing markets can be all over the place, but tend to be in the middle or bottom tier.

Maintenance depends on many factors. First off, the manufacturers provide Maintenance Planning Data to the airlines. That establishes the minimum maintenance requirements that the airlines must comply with.

Beyond the Maintenance Planning Data requirements, there are many other maintenance requirements. They come via Airworthiness Directives, Service Bulletins, Airworthiness Limitations, Certification Maintenance Requirements, etc. All of that is required maintenance.

Beyond the requirements is all the optional maintenance. The airlines customize their own maintenance programs based on their own experience. Based on their reliability programs they will adjust scheduled maintenance intervals.

Next comes additional optional maintenance. Service letters, Service Bulletins, Maintenance Tips, Advisory Circulars, etc are provided to help the airline enhance maintenance to improve their reliability.

Finally are optional upgrades to the airplanes. The manufacturers are constantly coming up with design improvements and sell these to airlines. Incorporating them will improve the overall performance and reliability.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:40 pm

Very Difficult to Judge as its not possible to have Inside access to all the airlines around the globe & then statistics do not always provide the accurate indication of the same.

To me there would be many.....But difficult to point out one in particular.
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roseflyer
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:45 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 8):
Very Difficult to Judge as its not possible to have Inside access to all the airlines around the globe & then statistics do not always provide the accurate indication of the same.

Actually both Boeing and airbus publish comparison statistics between most operators of the same model. Those working in the reliability management of the airline have access to that data but that us obviously not public knowledge.
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Speedbird741
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:32 pm

TAP Maintenence & Engineering always has had a tremendous reputation of excellence in their service. It really is a motive of great pride for us. I've also heard that South African Airways was excellent at servicing their aircraft up until the late 1990s. Don't know about after that time, however.

Speedbird741
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BUGYUL
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:36 am

A couple of months ago i have received a quotation package for a 747 landing gear detail part package and it was marked ''AG'' which is the most critical in terms of turn around time for fabricating a spare part for the airlines.
For some of the items my company were a winning bidder so after completion of these parts i did asked the liaison engineer at Boeing which airline these parts will go to and he said that an incident happened in Frankfurt at Lufthansa Technik when a German airline mechanic started to grind out small corrosion cracks from the lending gear housing with a power grinder which is forbidden because applies heat to the highly heat treated (275-305KSI)300M steel, the the landing gear is made out of.Removing small hairline cracks are common but to remove them it requires hand grinding and blending only and can not use power grinding which creates extreme heat and caused burns in the steel and makes it weaker prone to failures.So what happened is when this plane after maintenance was headed to the active runway with full passengers and right before the pilot applied the full power the main landing gear broke and with all the pressue inside it did shear thru the wing.....
So what I'm trying to say that even the Lufthansa Technik maintenance will make mistakes,so when an airplane is due for a specific check up no matter what airline it is, it must be done by the plane manufacturer's procedure,of course I'm talking about the US,European,major Middle Eastern,major Asian and Australian carriers,unfortunately can not say the same thing about the rest...
 
sccutler
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:53 am

Financially-sound carriers traditionally take best care of their frames, and well-maintained aircraft are also reliable. My bet would be that Southwest has some pretty good practices. Poor maintenance costs money.
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amccann
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:19 am

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 7):
I have some general experience, so will try to make some generalizations. When comparing airlines, it is always the Japanese Airlines that are at the top. JAL and ANA almost always lead every other airline in dispatch reliability. They tend to spend the most on maintenance and have the best maintained planes.

I agree. The Japanese are meticulous with regards to aircraft maintenance.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:37 am

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 9):
Actually both Boeing and airbus publish comparison statistics between most operators of the same model. Those working in the reliability management of the airline have access to that data but that us obviously not public knowledge.

As mentioned,statistics are accurate only if the data provided has not been tampered to display better results.....
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737tdi
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:18 am

Having worked as a mech/supervisor at two different MRO's and now work as a mech. at a major airline, I can honestly say that almost all operators require and expect the same quality. Although not a passenger carrier, UPS was adamant about keeping their aircraft in tip top shape. Even their DC8's were maintained extremely well.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:57 pm

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 15):
Having worked as a mech/supervisor at two different MRO's and now work as a mech. at a major airline, I can honestly say that almost all operators require and expect the same quality. Although not a passenger carrier, UPS was adamant about keeping their aircraft in tip top shape. Even their DC8's were maintained extremely well.

The FAA and other regulators require that the airplanes be maintained at a high standard that is established by the FAA, EASA, Boeing, Airbus and the Airlines in Industry Steering Committees.

Where the airlines differ is within their engineering departments. Some incorporate the latest and greatest Service Bulletins to improve reliability, while some only incorporate mandated ones, and then the majority are in the middle and choose what to do and what not to based on their own experience and budget constraints. Getting from a mid tier operator to a top tier operator is far more expensive than from a low tier to a mid tier. That last bit of reliability comes at the cost of more frequent and comprehensive, overhauls, inspections, functional checks and lubrications.

Every airline is different. In your example of UPS, I would expect them to have very high reliability due to their low utilization rate (common among freight operators). Some airlines push their fleets to have utilizations as high as 14-15 hours per day. Fleet utilizations that high come at the cost of reliability. 10-11 hours which is more the industry standard usually offers more flexibility and better maintained airplanes that have better dispatch reliability. Airplanes like the 737 and A320 can be run on 7-8 cycles per day (I've heard of one airline get up to 12 per day), but the airplanes running at those rates have high deferred maintenance counts and typically have less than desirable reliability.
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AirframeAS
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:03 pm

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
So which Airline in the world do you think maintains their Aircraft best ?

In the U.S., AS seems to do very well with their aircraft for the last 10 years, even with the loss of c-check. Moving to an all 737 fleet was a pretty good idea. IMO, WN comes in distant second place followed by CO.

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 15):
Although not a passenger carrier, UPS was adamant about keeping their aircraft in tip top shape. Even their DC8's were maintained extremely well.

For cargo ops, I would definitely agree with this statement.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
737tdi
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:28 pm

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 16):
Airplanes like the 737 and A320 can be run on 7-8 cycles per day (I've heard of one airline get up to 12 per day), but the airplanes running at those rates have high deferred maintenance counts and typically have less than desirable reliability.





Well, I think you know where I work and also know how much usage our aircraft get. We have very little deferred maintenance (MELS). If our aircraft are RON'd at a MX base they hardly ever leave with a sticker. Even on through flights we do everything possible to clear any MX discrepancy.

Remember that it comes down to the attitude of the bottom guy, that would be the mech., and what he/she is willing to contribute. As a commercial aircraft mech. I can and will shut down an aircraft with the stroke of a pen if I consider a problem to be airworthy. We as mechs. are all (no matter the employer) the first and last cog in the wheel. Not on a soap box here but maintenance comes down to what a person is willing to do. I say do the right thing and repair it per standards. JMO.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Best Maintained Airliners

Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:31 pm

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 16):
(I've heard of one airline get up to 12 per day)

That could very well easily be WN.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.

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