Airline Flies High with Maintenance Process Improvements

The Client

Large domestic airline needing to dramatically reduce its expenses in the face of tough competition and adverse market conditions.

The Challenge

After opening a state-of-the-art maintenance facility, the airline realized that it was not performing to expectations, and they were not receiving the value from it that they needed to be competitive.  Their processes were inefficient, and they needed to improve critical path management to reduce visit costs for their 737 fleet.

The Solution

We began our engagement by soliciting managers, team leaders, and leads in all areas and shifts for suggestions to eliminate non value-added activities.  Using this feedback we collaborated with them on developing a new process; one that was planned, developed and executed in a single maintenance bay.  This prototype, allowed the joint team to work out the kinks in the new process, before rolling it out to the entire maintenance facility.

In quick fashion, existing maintenance bays were reconfigured, organization was revamped, planning tools and methodologies were refined and reporting tools were upgraded. Methods for better managing critical path and overall workloads were significantly improved.

A system of visual management was installed to help keep everyone focused on their individual turnaround times, and that of the aircraft. Most importantly, management skills at various levels were upgraded through training and on-the floor coaching.

Performance Results


Reduction in aircraft cycle times

15 - 20%

Reduction in cost-per-visit

$5 Million

In annual savings


As a result, cycle times were reduced 20% and cost-per-visit decreased 15 to 20%, representing a savings of more than $5 million per year as the airline was able to better leverage the facility.

Subsequently, best practices implemented at this facility were rolled out across the airline’s other maintenance operations generating even greater savings across the entire airline.

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