Every day, the FAA's Air Traffic Organization (ATO) provides service to more than 42,000 flights and 2.5 million airline passengers across more than 29 million square miles of airspace. When an aircraft is grounded it takes a team with skill and knowledge to address the issue, as well as quick access to the tools and parts necessary for repair. Depending on where the aircraft is grounded, these resources can be difficult to locate.
The Dreaded Aircraft on Ground
While a grounded commercial aircraft may affect passengers, the impact goes well beyond one flight. Until the aircraft has been repaired and deemed airworthy all scheduled flights must be re-organized to accommodate passengers and crewmembers, all with the loss of an aircraft. Every day the aircraft is on the ground significant costs are incurred, which is why an AOG is given such high priority. In the best-case scenario, the mechanical issue can be corrected swiftly, but when a part is needed for repair and is not on hand it can cause significant delays. Locating, purchasing and shipping parts needed requires support from manufacturers and distributors alike.
Who Do You Call?
Most manufacturers do not stock their own inventory, instead relying on their distributors to keep parts available. If you are unable to find the part needed a quick call to the manufacturer can help expedite the purchasing process. In many cases, the manufacturer can see which distributors have recently purchased the part required and provide that distributor's sales contact to verify inventory. In other cases, the manufacturer can provide a list of distributors to help narrow down your search field. The key here is that the supply chain for the aviation industry understands the urgency when there is an aircraft on ground and will go above and beyond to make sure the items needed are received as quickly as possible.
With so many flights operating each day there will always be AOG situations that need immediate attention. It is important to have a well-formed and organized AOG team in place to handle these circumstances and an established supply chain to deliver needed parts quickly while maintaining quality. With these resources in place, an AOG can be repaired and losses can be minimized.