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With maintenance a major operational cost area for all airlines – according to the International Civil Aviation Organization maintenance now costs more than fuel or crew expenses – there is no escaping the fact that containing maintenance costs is central to unlocking greater profitability in a fiercely competitive market.

Effective planning across multiple horizons – be it fleet planning or line maintenance – means airlines can service more aircraft with the same number of maintenance technicians and staff.

Limited tools, limited value

We all know that spreadsheets, primitive planning software and tribal knowledge from seasoned planners all translate into lost time and money, yet there are still large numbers of airline planning departments that use manual tools to plan aircraft maintenance at both the fleet and line levels.

Manually updated fleet plans can quickly spiral out of control when parts, labor and aircraft availability change. Looking forward, week-to-week or even day-to-day, spreadsheets cannot provide accurate answers to strategic business questions such as: How many new aircraft can we support? What will it look like if we add a new aircraft type in four years? What happens if we use external MROs for this fleet?

In line maintenance, there are similar challenges that need to be addressed, but on a shorter planning horizon. Efficient line maintenance means supporting a growing number of daily flights and shorter maintenance windows without onboarding additional maintenance staff. But when committed maintenance activities slip, it can impact operations on the day of scheduled maintenance. There is less time to take corrective action and, as this responsibility is corrected by manual inputs, introduces the opportunity for human error and differing courses of action depending on the planner in-charge.

A fresh approach to multi-horizon planning

As planners become responsible for more aircraft and more maintenance visits, there has to be a new approach. Stretched spreadsheets just can’t hack it. This is why IFS has brought together the demands of world-leading airlines and cloud computing to launch two new Software as a Service (SaaS) based maintenance planning applications that work with any Maintenance & Engineering (M&E) system.

IFS Maintenix Fleet Planner and IFS Maintenix Line Planner were recently announced at the IFS World Conference in Atlanta before an audience that included IFS subject matter experts, customers, IFS commercial aviation partners and journalists from some of the industry’s most influential publications such as Aviation Week, MRO Network, Intelligent Aerospace and Asian Airlines & Aerospace.

Next-generation planning

With IFS Maintenix Fleet Planner, decision-makers can choose the best plan to support their business. The solution quickly pinpoints the most efficient maintenance plan tailored to an organization’s unique requirements, significantly improving aircraft availability, check yield, and hangar utilization.

Whether for single-base operations or globally distributed maintenance organizations, the automation within the solution enables faster and more efficient planning. Because even the best of plans can change in the blink of an eye, the fleet planning solution enables multiple planners to quickly and easily modify, merge, and share plan updates.

IFS Maintenix Line Planner empowers maintenance decision makers to dynamically react to schedule changes, as the solution continuously monitors the maintenance plan for individual aircraft and identifies changes as they arise. Maintenance priorities can be contextualized against corporate goals to drive business value from maintenance processes.

For ease of management and collaboration, IFS Maintenix Line Planner simplifies the planning process by quickly creating executable plans and consolidating all information into a single screen.

Cruising in the cloud

Both of these new IFS Maintenix SaaS solutions are delivered through the cloud and work with any M&E system. Whether managing a fleet of 10 or 1000 aircraft, legacy planning applications and clunky spreadsheets can be quickly replaced with modern solutions with no dependency on internal IT resources nor the need to migrate hardware. Software updates occur seamlessly in the background – so no disruption is experienced when adopting the latest enhancements. As business requirements change, capacity can be increased on demand and with no impact to users.

Answering the call for better maintenance planning

Managing operational availability and avoiding schedule delays begins in the maintenance planning process. With IFS’ new SaaS-based solutions, the ripple effect of effectively planned maintenance is now within reach – better aircraft turnaround times, consistent airworthiness assurance, and optimized maintenance costs management.

For more information on how IFS Maintenix Fleet Planner and IFS Maintenix Line Planner can quickly, easily and more cost-effectively revolutionize commercial aviation maintenance planning, download the white paper: http://www.ifsworld.com/corp/sitecore/media-library/assets/2018/06/07/ifs-maintenix-saas/

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