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For any industry that invests in expensive and complex equipment—from locomotives and container ships to mining equipment and oil rigs to nuclear reactors and chemical plants—maximizing the lifetime return on those assets is critical.

Perhaps the clearest example of this is the commercial airline industry. When American Airlines or Lufthansa acquires a $200 million Boeing 787 or a $390 million Airbus A380, the goal is to keep that aircraft up and running for 18 hours a day and generating profitable revenue for as many years as possible. At the heart of that effort is the airlines’ maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) organization, charged with handling both routine and nonroutine issues to keep that fleet up and running. Unfortunately, today’s commercial airline MRO operations aren’t nearly as effective or efficient as they could be. Aircraft delays cost the industry $8.3 billion annually. Maintenance and other airline controlled issues cause 42 percent of all delays in commercial airlines.

Such service interruptions impact more than just the bottom line. Every passenger has an arsenal of war stories of being trapped on the tarmac due to a maintenance issue. It’s little wonder that airlines are just behind newspapers for the lowest customer satisfaction score among 47 industries tracked by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Even more importantly, inefficient maintenance operations can create safety hazards for airlines and passengers. The US Office of Special Counsel recently chastised the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for years of inattention to “lax airline maintenance.” Then there’s the wasted fuel and increased pollution caused by poor maintenance information. Every minute that a multimillion dollar piece of equipment isn’t functioning impacts the bottom line.

Airlines have the data they need to reduce delays from equipment problems - and even to stop problems before they occure - saving billions and making customers happier to boot. Here's how to do it... post a comment or write me an email to receive the 10 pages of an article by Stephanie Overby, Phil te Hau and Wolfgang Ullwer as pdf (uploads to SCN are not allowed for that format).