cmf
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A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:47 am

Leeham News has another post about A320 and 737 maintenance costs. This is based on Airbus response to earlier questions/posts.

The conclusion they make is:

Quote:
Instead of focusing on the “sweat spot” for the NG, data of the entire reporting period must be compared

Comparing different fleet ages is not leading the sensible results

Market forces e.g. competition have an impact on maintenance cost

The A320 airframe is better maturing than the NG and improvements on the A320 are showing tangible results.

And then they have a graph showing a big advantage to 737 for the first years of service but at about 11 years the advantage changes to A320.

I don't have enough data,knowledge and experience to validate the conclusions they make. I definitely see the need to normalize for the different age but what about the rest? Do the numbers make sense?
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giblets
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:58 pm

I read this article ( and the previous article on Boeing's statements), well worth a read.
The major problem is that no airline wants to give away it's figures on this as it relates to their performance and profitability against their competitors.

Airbus essentially comments that Boeing is using figures of 7 year old A320's and comparing them to new NG's. That as the A320 presence in North America increased, the maintenance cost decreased (increased competition and scale of numbers).

Leehams addy:
http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/
 
AA737-823
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:12 pm

Quoting Giblets (Reply 1):
Airbus essentially comments that Boeing is using figures of 7 year old A320's and comparing them to new NG's. That as the A320 presence in North America increased, the maintenance cost decreased (increased competition and scale of numbers).

I'm sure Airbus thinks just that. Both manufacturers will make the numbers say what they want to. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics... as they say.

That said, being a mechanic on both new and old 737s, I'm having a hard time agreeing that things get precipitously worse at 11 years. That hasn't been my experience.
Certain ATA chapters do see increased activity over time, but... such is life as machinery ages.
 
neutronstar73
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:12 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 2):

That said, being a mechanic on both new and old 737s, I'm having a hard time agreeing that things get precipitously worse at 11 years. That hasn't been my experience.

I'm inclined to agree with your real world experience, because based on all these "studies" that says the A320 is so much better than the 737, then how in the world do airlines like Southwest, Ryanair, and Westjet make any money? Why would they buy a "maintenance hog" like the 737 is it were so much worse than the A320 series?
 
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Stitch
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:48 pm

I recall it being posted on these forums that the design service life for many 737 parts are longer than the equivalent on the A320 and that helps reduce the maintenance bill for the 737.

The A320's newer design does bring maintenance benefits in certain areas, of course. The A320's FBW control system, for example, should be significantly lower maintenance when compared to the pulleys and cables used on the 737.
 
roseflyer
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:34 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 4):
I recall it being posted on these forums that the design service life for many 737 parts are longer than the equivalent on the A320 and that helps reduce the maintenance bill for the 737.

Yes, that has been posted before:

A320 48000 Cycles/ 60000 Hours
737NG 75000 Cycles

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-11-15/html/2010-28363.htm

According to the FAA, the 737NG was designed to last longer, so it surprises me that as an airplane ages, the A320 has lower maintenance costs.

However each manufacturer claims they are better and has many charts to prove it. I guess when it comes to A vs B, enough assumptions can be made that any plane can be shown better than the others. With how clever marketing is nowadays, they probably could make a DC-8 look better on paper than either an A320 or 737NG for some obscure operating environment like 10% load factor over a 50 mile route with 100,000lbs in cargo off a 5000ft runway at 12000ft.
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giblets
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:34 pm

I guess Boeing under designed in some areas and over designed in others when they put the bird together, the Airbus is heavier, as they had to incorporate more stringent safety measures, Ryanair et al tend to beat their aircraft up and then sell them early specifically before the maintenance charges increase.
Experience from the field also backs up some of the theory too:

Lufthansa Technik, %u201CLHT %u2013 Lufthansa Technik (%u2026) has found less significant corrosion or fatigue related fuselage structure work arising on A320s than on Boeing 737s of similar age.%u201D
 
astuteman
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:42 pm

Quoting NeutronStar73 (Reply 3):
then how in the world do airlines like Southwest, Ryanair, and Westjet make any money? Why would they buy a "maintenance hog" like the 737 is it were so much worse than the A320 series?

Of course this works the other way too, as it seems to me to be a given to most US posters that the A320 is less robust and needs more maintenance that a 737.

As each of their market shares appears to be robust, I'd suggest that the swings and roundabouts even up somewhere along the line..  

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Stitch
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:43 am

leeham.net posted an article about this at http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2013...ponds-to-boeings-form-41-reliance/

It looks like the 737NG enjoys lower maintenance costs up front, but as the airframe ages, the A320's superior fatigue properties means it's maintenance bills on older frames are lower.

Maintenance costs on the A320 have also dropped as more MROs have come online. The 737NG inherited the more extensive 737 Classic MRO base at launch, which helped keep maintenance costs lower early on in the program's life.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:28 pm

No data to back the same, but speaking with folks from the purchase department of Airlines operating Both types...The explanation is that the Airbus costs cheaper but the spares are more expensive, the Boeing goes the otherway around ie Spares cheaper initial cost higher.
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lightsaber
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:48 am

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):
Maintenance costs on the A320 have also dropped as more MROs have come online. The 737NG inherited the more extensive 737 Classic MRO base at launch, which helped keep maintenance costs lower early on in the program's life.

That is key. The 737 also started with lessons learned from the classic and 731/2. Airbus eventually built up that lessons learned data base.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 5):
Yes, that has been posted before:

A320 48000 Cycles/ 60000 Hours
737NG 75000 Cycles

See slides 13+ for the "Extended Service Goal". The A320 is going to 60k cycles, 120k hours
MRO%20Trends_%20OEM%20Update.pdf" target="_blank">http://events.aviationweek.com/html/...y_MRO%20Trends_%20OEM%20Update.pdf


Looking into details of the new Extended Service Goal
http://www.ageingaircraft.com.au/fil...es/Buchweitz%2025th%20S9%20P12.pdf

Reduce A320 maintenance to current service goal (30% per slide #30)


What I couldn't find is confirmation of the ESG certification. I thought it was nearly done. Anyone have a link?

Lightsaber
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zeke
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RE: A320 & 737 Maintenance Cost

Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:22 am

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 5):
A320 48000 Cycles/ 60000 Hours

That is the original design datao, the lead A320 was around 48000 cycles/80000 hours in 2011. They already have in place ESG1 which gives the air frame 60000 cycles/120000 hours. Most A320s would be around 25 years old reaching that value, and probably scrapped.

ESG2 was being worked on, it maybe approved already, 90000 cycles, 180000 hours.

Some indication of how maintenance savings are being realised are in this fair use excerpt http://www.asianaviation.com/article...4/Airbus-plans-A320-life-extension

"A320s are subject to industry-standard MSG-3 provisions, under which historic %u2018A%u2019 and %u2018C%u2019 maintenance check intervals have become flexible. Tasks now carry FC, FH, or calendar-time maximum intervals that permit operators to optimise MRO planning, with the A- and C-check labels still used generically.

According to Airbus, A320 operators adjust maintenance intervals to suit their own schedules. For example, one has adopted a 20-month C-check cycle, distributing six-year tasks between 60- and 80-month checks to ensure maximum aircraft availability, while another operator uses 24- month C checks to save one heavy-maintenance shop visit every six years.

Good "in-service experience feedback" from operators has contributed to the introduction of extended A320 scheduled-task intervals that Airbus says have reduced maintenance costs by up to 70 percent since service entry in 1988. For example, FH intervals for C-check equivalent work have grown by a third, while the frequency of heavy-maintenance shop visits has fallen by half and the typical period between A-check equivalent jobs has increased by 70 percent.

Specifically, maintenance tasks scheduled in the original 350-FH A-check may now be performed at any time up to maximum intervals of 600 FH, 750 FC, or 100 days. Likewise, the 15-month C-check interval has become a 20-month, 6,000-FH, or 4,500-FC minimum frequency and permitted intervals between heavy checks have grown from four and eight years to six and 12 years.

A further 25 percent increase in A-check intervals (to 750 FH, 750 FC, or 120 days, or a combination) has been agreed by the A320 Industry Steering Committee (ISC), while airworthiness authorities %u2013 led by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) %u2013 have approved the Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR) adopting the longer intervals, which now appear in the A320 maintenance-planning document.

The ISC launched "an evolution exercise" in 2009 under which it might extend C-check intervals by a further 20 percent this year. The resulting 24-month/7,500-FH/5,000-FC interval, if subsequently approved, would enable maintenance planners to synchronise such activity with the existing six- and 12-year heavy-check intervals."
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