March 24, 2020
As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has swept the world and brought about an unprecedented change to our understanding of circumstances as normal, the aviation industry has experienced sweeping changes of huge proportions. The result has been a grounding of aircraft at many of the global carriers that surpasses the scale of any previous event. The parking of aircraft brings on a whole new set of maintenance requirements that must be strictly followed to ensure the aircraft’s continued airworthiness. Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, as always one of the main pillars of aviation safety, must ensure that these requirements are being followed.
Yesterday AEI President, Mr. Ola Bloomqvist issued the below update on AEI’s website:
COVID-19 – An Unexpected Risk to Aircraft Safety
The Corona crisis is challenging the world on many levels. Of course, the immediate priority must be to use all available resources to preserve life. On a personal level we must do all we can to reach out and help those who need it the most. We of course also rely heavily on experts in the field of health and medicine to achieve this goal.
The current situation will however come to an end and life will start returning back to normal. Just as we rely on health safety experts and specialists to do what is necessary, the aviation world must ensure it does the same in terms of protecting future passengers’ safety by preserving aircraft maintenance programmes and airworthiness.
With commercial aviation now grounding their aircraft fleets it is easy to believe that aircraft doors are closed and that’s that until the time comes in 2 or 3 months to start flying again. On the contrary, aircraft still require regular maintenance and servicing to remain airworthy and safe. Indeed, to ensure aircraft return safely to commercial service after long periods of activity, so called parking and storage maintenance will now be required.
Aircraft parking and storage procedures are complex and follow tight calendar driven servicing schedules. Due to the complexity of these parking schedules AEI urges all engineers, technicians and mechanics to familiarise themselves with the manufacturers recommended procedures contained in the specific Aircraft Maintenance Manual, Chapter 10. Remember, these procedures are there for a reason, namely, to maintain airworthiness and safety standards at a level to prepare them for the day they are expected to fly again. Regulators, manufacturers, airlines and maintenance organisations should act accordingly to ensure we have an airworthy fleet ready to safely return to the air once the COVID-19 crisis is over.
AEI President, Ola Blomqvist, says, “Professionally we have to remain focussed on keeping aircraft safe and airworthy. Do not tolerate shortcuts when making safety critical decisions. Ensure parking programmes are strictly adhered to. We are aware of the financial pressure put on employers and on staff, but that will not be accepted as an excuse by the flying public if it results in incidents or accidents.”
Airlines, despite the current difficulties, should ensure that sufficient personnel remain employed to perform these tasks. Parking programmes are not “wild cards” to cease maintenance activities.
AEI Secretary of the Americas