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Are Airlines paying a Maintenance Fee to Airbus, Boeing & Co

Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:10 am

I was wondering to other day how Airbus, Boeing etc. fund the continuous support of older aircraft models. Let's say FAA or EASA identifies a problem with B747, I assume Boeing has quite some efforts working out a solution for the issue.
If the aircraft model is new, one could argue it's payed out of the cash flow of aircraft sales. But how is it funded for older models (L1011, B747 etc.)?
Last edited by qf789 on Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: spelling in title
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Re: Air Airlines paying a Maintenance Fee to Airbus, Boeing & Co

Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:14 am

Airlines buying used planes are charged for manuals, repairs, etc. New airplane buyers get that type of support for free.

Part sales also drive income for the manufacturers to pay for engineering support.
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Re: Are Airlines paying a Maintenance Fee to Airbus, Boeing & Co

Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:39 am

I don't know for sure, but I'd assume the airlines pay a monthly fee for manufacturer technical support. It would not be the kind of money that would support engineering a required AD modification. They would have to cover that cost through part sales or eat it. I'm not aware of a case where there has been an AD and the manufacturer said tough luck. I suppose if that happened a third party could propose a solution.
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Re: Are Airlines paying a Maintenance Fee to Airbus, Boeing & Co

Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:28 am

On the Heavy Maintenance side (where you do tend to find a lot of quirky things when you pull a plane apart to inspect it), Airbus (and some component manufacturers such as Goodrich, etc.) charge each time you reach out to their engineering team for proper repair drawings based on your damage mapping. Basically, the e-mail from the MRO/Airline Engineering team to the OEM Engineering team will cost a few thousand dollars...just for the e-mail. So, if during the course of a heavy check you find certain corrosion issues (lets say wing topskin/rib and center tank) and some old fuselage damage repairs that are suddenly not passing re-inspection and are out of standard SRM limits, and then you have a couple of fan cowls/TR Sleeves with delamination and disbond outside of allowable repair limits...you're looking at thousands upon thousands of dollars to send the mapping to the OEMS for final repair approvals and schematics. We kind of joke about it...."Airbus isn't in the business of selling planes, it sells engineering and repair schematics" LOL. When an airline has many planes in checks at the same time, the bill can get quite large.
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Re: Are Airlines paying a Maintenance Fee to Airbus, Boeing & Co

Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:33 pm

depends on Airline contract with OEM. IndiGo didn't pay anything for replacement of 6 faulty PW NEO engines.
AI paid a fortune for similar problems with B787.
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Re: Are Airlines paying a Maintenance Fee to Airbus, Boeing & Co

Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:25 pm

I worked on the L-1011 program too many years ago. When the L-10 when out of production the sales of spare parts, routine data and technical services more or less paid for a group of knowledgeable and trained program folks to be there and to be available to the air lines if and when needed.

If an air line needed approval of an engineering repair order (say for damage not covered in the SRM) they would pay for that on a T & M basis at an hourly rate. If the air lines as a group needed something that applied to all (windshear warning and TCAS comes to mind) a price for the development of same was generated with the sell price being spread over the number of affected airplanes. Similarly, if an air line came along and wanted a GTOW or similar modification they would pay for it based on the cost of development time, data and parts required.

From a failing memory, it seems to me that before an airplane was delivered the costs for same was paid for by the program. Once the airplane went over the fence the responsibility was turned over to the product support group. The PS group lived off of the sales of parts, data and services. So when the airplane went out of production the PS folks just kept doing what they were doing. All of the production folks got laid off. Or found other work within the company.

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