Czech Airlines is just about to conclude an agreement for the purchase of a new specialised information system for the management of aircraft maintenance and repair, referred to as the MRO system (maintenance, repair and overhaul).
The value of the investment will reach several tens of millions of crowns, but Czech Airlines should recoup all of the costs in less than two years. The aim of the project is primarily to improve the internal functioning of aircraft maintenance, while maintaining a high level of safety in the operation of its fleet.
“This step will allow us to move the entire process of maintenance and repair to a higher standard. But our people will, of course, continue to be the primary guarantor of high-quality services. The new system will allow our technicians to manage and execute maintenance on the basis of better information; it will allow procurement to achieve better prices on spare parts; and our aircraft will be able to stay in the air longer, due to improvements in planning,” said Czech Airlines’ President, Radomír Lašák. The AMOS system of the Swiss AviationSoftware corporation is based on the practices of the most highly performing aircraft operators; it fundamentally improves oversight and control, with respect to every one of the thousands of parts in each airplane. Presently, the system is used by over 50 airlines.
The introduction of the system into practice will be a demanding task. It will involve not only the installation of new software, its adjustment, user training, and putting it into operation in the Czech Airlines environment, but it will also call for fundamental changes in the system of work established over the years in the Technical Division of the Airline, and with it, technical and organisational changes. Czech Airlines is preparing actively for the new system’s implementation. The first necessary changes in the organisational structure were implemented on 1 February 2008. “The change will not bring savings in terms of the number of employees in maintenance, but it will have a significant impact on work processes and the responsibilities of many employees. Furthermore, it creates the fundamental conditions for increasing the efficiency of aircraft maintenance, reducing overall maintenance costs, and the possibility of achieving higher income from aircraft maintenance for other airlines,” said Vice-President for Technology Tomáš Heczko.
The environment and processes in aircraft maintenance are strictly regulated by European legislation. A number of changes that will be made over time, in connection with the introduction of the new system at Czech Airlines, therefore require approval by the Czech Civil Aviation Authority, authorised by the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) to carry out oversight over Czech maintenance organisations. “The modern procedural maintenance model that Czech Airlines is implementing, in connection with the implementation of the AMOS system, fully complies with the newest requirements of aviation regulations, and it is undoubtedly a major step towards higher quality maintenance and a further increase of aviation safety,” added Tomáš Heczko. The scope and volume of technical aircraft checks will not change with the implementation of the new system; quite the contrary, the existing strict system of safety checks will be more effective and thorough due to the linkage of data.
The tender for this project commenced on 30 January 2007, when a detailed invitation was sent to 16 major companies in the field. 12 bidders submitted their bids on the basis of the document. All of the bids were carefully assessed by the purchasing team in the subsequent months, in three rounds. In the assessment, not only were the functional properties of the solutions offered assessed, but also the IT technologies used, the method of their implementation, the pricing conditions, and the references of the bidders. In July 2007, the tender was concluded and its winner proposed. Test operation of the new system should start in autumn 2008.
The MRO system will also replace a number of IT applications with a single, more powerful application that will enable the Airline to develop further in the sphere of maintenance, much like the new airline system for supporting key business activities, which Czech Airlines is gradually introducing.