Tuscar's Knowledge Series: Resource Allocation
The Aircraft redelivery process is not only disruptive and emotive in its nature for both Lessee and Lessor, it’s also very resource intensive for both parties.
It is disruptive for the Lessee due to the additional demands placed upon them during the 6-8-week redelivery period. However, the redelivery planning should have commenced 12 months prior to the scheduled redelivery date when the “Kick Off” meeting occurred.
The Lessee needs to ensure that one of the Technical members attending the “Kick Off” meeting will ultimately be the person responsible for managing the redelivery program. Truth be told, managing a redelivery can be a “thankless task” and he/she will need to be both a diplomat (many stakeholders involved) as well as someone who can multitask whilst simultaneously leading a team.
Large Airlines who perform many Aircraft transitions per year tend to have dedicated teams to manage such programs. For the vast majority of Airlines, specific individuals are tasked with supporting the redelivery program in addition to doing their day jobs. The majority of these individuals will have never seen the Lease agreement and will manage this process as they would any other of their usual tasks and within the same timeframe – this does not work in a redelivery situation.
The Lessee’s Redelivery manager needs to fully understand not only the EOL redelivery conditions are but also the current status of the Aircraft so he/she can develop a strategy to get the aircraft from Point A to Point B. In most cases the Aircraft may have its Redelivery or Return Check accomplished at an MRO which may be at a different location to where the Airline is currently based. Also, most redeliveries require the aircraft to be repainted and the Paint shop may be at yet another location.
Looking at the simple scenario above, the Lessee’s main base is at one location, the MRO is at another and the Paint shop is at a 3rd location. This would require the Lessee to have team members at the MRO and potentially have different team members attend the painting as its usual to perform a damage assessment - during the bear metal inspection.
In addition to having people oversee the physical re-delivery check, the Lessee will need to have a team on site to manage the Records generated during the redelivery check. This is to ensure that regular updates are transmitted back to the Lessee’s main base to facilitate the update of Status reports, Component Listings, LDND, etc. in a timely manner.
Most MRO’s, on issuance of the CRS following a C check (or equivalent), may take up to a month before they issue the Airline with the C check work pack. However, during a redelivery for every day the Aircraft is late, the Lessee is penalised.
Airlines with limited redelivery experience, underestimate the magnitude of work required and the resources needed to achieve a timely and compliant redelivery. In most cases whilst the redelivery check requires the Aircraft to be cleared for a C check interval (or equivalent) it’s not a C Check it is an EOL Redelivery check with a workscope which may include Component changes, Cabin reconfiguration, Replacement of temporary repairs with permanent, Livery change, etc.
The Lessor (and next Lessee) will not just be reviewing the maintenance, repairs, mods, etc. accomplished during the Redelivery Check but all the maintenance, repairs, etc. which has been accomplished on the Aircraft over the “full lease term” and with potentially only 30 days to complete their review.
Every department in the Airline will be engaged in the redelivery process - Engineering, Planning, Powerplant, Legal, Quality, Records, etc. as well as external MRO’s, Paint facility, Suppliers, and of course the National Civil Aviation Authorities. If the Aircraft is being transitioned from one EASA jurisdiction to another then an ARC will suffice. However, if the next Lessee is in a non EASA jurisdiction then an Export C of A will be required, and the Lessee has to resource for this as well.
Depending on an Airlines set up and how key functions are resourced internally, it may necessitate the Airline supplementing its workforce with contractors to assist with the redelivery program so that key airline staff remain focused on their primary roles within the Airline.
It’s important that the Airline’s Redelivery Manager has the authority to supplement his/her staff as required and such additional resource costs are allocated for within the Redelivery Budget which incidentally will be the final Article in this current Knowledge Series.