As evidenced by the grounding in October 2019 of almost every airliner in South Africa, maintenance can be a very exacting business and one in which it can be easy to fall foul of the CAA as the regulator.
Good maintenance is essential for safety, CAA compliance and to preserve the value of the aircraft. It should also make the aircraft more efficient to operate and save in the long run. Furthermore, component times – particularly for helicopter rotor and drivetrain parts, must be carefully monitored. The different components have to be replaced based on the recommendations of the manufacturer.
With the weakness of African currencies relative to the US dollar, maintenance can present some nasty surprises and for this reason many operators of larger aircraft choose to manage their maintenance bills by buying maintenance plans – particularly for expensive jet engines.
A case in point is the ‘Power by the Hour” scheme by Rolls Royce, which is now 50 years old. Power by the Hour is an hourly maintenance program for your engine, aircraft or anything in between. The concept is easy, you pay a certain amount for each hour that you fly on your aircraft and these funds go towards your future plane or helicopter maintenance requirements.
The main advantages of such programmes are mostly financial. Instead of a large cash outlay at the time of your engine overhaul, you will pay for every hour flown on a monthly basis. This improves cash flow and allows you to use your funds right away for other projects with higher returns. A key advantage is the peace of mind, from knowing that you are covered for any unforeseen even.
Aircraft maintenance is one of the most significant aspects of airplane ownership. The major reason for performing extensive maintenance is to ensure the safety of all passengers that are on board. It is also important to ensure passengers will reach their final destination in a timely manner, which means that aircraft have to be snag free if they are to operate on time.
Although routine maintenance, repairs and annual inspections can create an unbelievable burden on the plane owner as well as the growing need for licensed, qualified aviation maintenance technicians, it is essential not to take these things for granted. Most Aircraft maintenance Organisations now have to employ a full time administrator just to keep up with the CAA paperwork requirements.