The aviation industry is a major driver of countries’ economic production. It serves other industries, such as commerce and tourism. As an engine on multiple economic fronts, countries must ensure that their national and private carriers operate in a safe manner (Quinlan, 2014). This is a business that is very volatile and should be done with caution. Otherwise, the plummeting economic fronts in our countries could be apparent. It may even pose a security danger to persons and goods shipped if mishandled. It is a clear rule that aircraft must be maintained in-between flights. However, large number of repairs and the human resource could increase the costs thereby eating into the profit margins of the airlines. One cost-cutting approach employed by most airlines is use of third parties to provide maintenance services (Thenent, 2014). These airlines have foreign workers and even facilities to provide maintenance services for the given airline. This choice has its disadvantages, and should not be encouraged throughout our country. Commercial airlines should desists from using foreign and/or underdeveloped countries to cut repair costs in aviation.
The hired expatriates usually work on a temporal basis on the given maintenance project. The repair work covers several sections of the aircraft system, from the servicing of the engines to the performance of a D-check on the whole fleet owned by the airline. A D-check is regarded as the heavy maintenance check and is usually carried out after four or five years (Curran, 2015). Several companies offer maintenance services to airlines on contract basis. Such companies include Duncan Aviation Inc., A & P Technicians, and IA Aircraft Inspectors (Curran, 2015). Their services are widely known, and airlines bring in their planes or whole fleet for maintenance services.
There is an increasing tendency to outsource the maintenance duties to third parties. Some of the reasons attributed to this shift include the high costs of the equipment and spare parts for the airlines, and the scarcity of qualified human resource to handle these tasks. There are few qualified technicians who can carry the D-check on the airline fleet. A technician able to perform such check is considered a novice in this field, and that skill is scarce to serve the whole industry if it were on permanent employment terms. Instead, airlines are finding it much cheaper to share such qualified human resource to perform the maintenance services, while they focus solely on managing the airline (Damacoc, 2017). Inherently, the qualified technicians come from foreign countries like China, Russia and even Europe. This necessitates the outsourcing of such tenders to these companies to get the best repair services available.
The high cost of the equipment and spare parts makes some airlines shelving such costs to the contractor. Usually, the investment in spare parts for each plane is about fifteen percent of the plane’s purchase price (Curran, 2015). With such a fraction, no company would be willing to stake such investment on their planes. Instead, they utilize the just-in-time approach, where the spare parts would be made available whenever the airline is in need.
The disadvantages of outsourcing is the liability to poor quality services and/or spare parts. Some spare parts might be fraudulent, and would fail during service. It is better to have an expensive quality spare part to last two years than a cheap one lasting probably less than a year. Even when delegating the duties, the airline may not have all the details of the repairs done, their quality and even place of manufacture. The third parties use this to their advantage to increase the profit margins. He FAA has laid out the criteria to verify the quality and authenticity of the spare part (Quinlan, 2014).
Another issue regarding outsourcing is the security of the airplane and data transmitted on that plane. The outsourced professionals usually scan through the avionics, and would unearth trade secrets (Damacoc, 2017). These trade secrets have a way to reduce the revenue generation if released to the wrong audience. Therefore, the airlines have to be careful as to which information is accessible to the third parties and which are not.
Another reason against outsourcing is the loss of jobs. Placing the airline machineries to service by outsourced companies deprives the current youth of such opportunities. With locals downplayed, the foreigners then fill our positions living out most of the neighborhood professionals. Also, through this the airlines are trying to avoid additional costs like insurance, health and pension.
Another reason against outsourcing is the stability of our country. Outsourcing exposes the airlines to manipulation by the terrorists’ group. An example was the 9/11 attack where both equipment and human lives were lost (Thenent, 2014). The terrorist gang used the American fighter jets to bomb into the building. Normally, this may not be suspicious, as no one would expect the fighter jets to kill the citizens it was trying to protect (as entrenched in the duty of the national army in the constitution).
Airlines should understand the new perspective. Outsourcing may have been in existence, but it is time the airline companies shifted this notion. Using local talent and technicals gives our residents more job opportunities airlines should desists from using foreign and/or underdeveloped countries to cut repair costs in aviation. Clearly, all commercial airlines should desists from using foreign and/or underdeveloped countries to cut repair costs in aviation.
Curran, R. (2015). Application of Lean Methods into Aircraft Maintenance Processes. Lif System.
Damacoc. (2017). Data Warehouse Glossary. Retrieved from damacoc.org/presentations/2007_04_11_A_delman_DWGlossary.doc
Quinlan, M. H. (2014). Slow to learn: regulatory oversight of the safety of outsourced aircraft maintenance in the USA. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 12(1), 71-90.
Thenent, N. E. (2014). Cutting cost in service systems: Are you running with scissors? Strategic Change, 23(5-6), 341-357.