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MRO to go

MRO software offers efficiency and cost savings for airlines and as Paul E Eden finds, new solutions to old problems are leading software providers to offer greater functionality than ever before

The regulatory requirements of running a modern, safer airline operation mean maintenance planning, record keeping and compliance have long since exceeded the capabilities of Excel for all but the smallest carriers. A number of smart and regularly updated software systems exists to simplify, even automate the MRO tasking an airline generates, none of them catering specifically to the low cost or regional markets, but all offering extensive functionality that’s just as relevant, albeit perhaps in different ways, as it is to the largest flag carrier.


Ronald Schaeuffele, CEO of SWISS AviationSoftware (Swiss-AS), which produces the popular AMOS MRO software suite, says the system is suitable not only for any type of airline operation, but also for MROs. The company’s low cost carrier customer list includes AirAsia, easyJet, flydubai, Indigo, Jet2, Norwegian, Pegasus, Ryanair, SpiceJet, VivaAerobus, Vueling and WOW air, among others. “It’s a community product where every customer uses the same AMOS software, but adjusted to suit their particular needs. We don’t see LCCs using AMOS any differently to traditional airlines, although they may not require the full scope of modules and functions, since they typically outsource at least some of their maintenance tasks. The way AMOS is employed tends to be influenced more by individual maintenance scope, aircraft type and so on, than by airline type.”


Where maintenance is outsourced to one or more independent MROs, there’s real value to be had in easily and accurately produced work packages that can be passed from airline engineering department direct to the MRO, enhancing efficiency and, potentially, safety. It’s an area in which AMOS is particularly helpful, thanks to a generic interface that enables data transfer, via the check-out/check-in of work packages, between the airline and its MRO(s).


However, there is far more to MRO software than managing maintenance and compliance, and this extended versatility is particularly attractive to growing LCCs. Nick Godwin, Managing Director at Commsoft, the UK-based provider responsible for the OASES MRO software suite, notes Blue Air, as an example. The Romanian carrier uses OASES to manage a fleet of around 30 Boeing 737s of various models, exploiting its functionality to the full.


“They use it to control their continuous airworthiness management and they’re using it to manage the complete purchasing of an inventory. They have OASES interfaced to a finance system and from an operations system, they do all their own heavy checks and now they’re looking to do third party work for similar customers.”


Real-time compliance


John Bowell, Director of Global Sales for the FLYdocs Asset Management Platform, says the company’s very particular product is proving especially popular with LCCs, a fact highlighted by a recent deal with Frontier Airlines. “I think the LCCs really appreciate the outsourcing possible with our products – we supply technical services as well as software, predominantly around auditing daily compliance documents, but also support of end-of-lease. Given their tight budgets, a late return from lease can have a significant impact on an LCC and our software helps avoid that with minimal internal overhead.”


FLYdocs also works with Wizz Air and provides end-of-lease services to Norwegian and Silk Air, among others. “We’re flexible in how we supply our customers, as in the case of Norwegian, where they have a long-term agreement with a competitor but choose our system for their end-of-lease work because it delivers the efficiencies and technical support they require.”


FLYdocs has also made headway into the regional market, notably with QantasLink and its mixed Boeing 717 Bombardier Q series fleet. The data capture, storage and search functions inherent in the FLYdocs platform are equally useful to QantasLink as they are to Frontier and Virgin Atlantic, or even to the two-aircraft operator currently in discussion with Bowell. “The service is typically charged on a monthly per aircraft basis and there’s no data cap. It also makes no difference to the customer whether they have two aircraft or 200, they all receive exactly the same level of service.” >>


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