airplane operators now have access to an expanded, complete range
of modification and engineering services from the recently launched
Boeing Airplane Services. This new enterprise consolidates modification
and engineering efforts in Seattle, Wash., Long Beach, Calif., and
Wichita, Kan., to offer one-stop shopping for operators of all Boeing-
and Douglas-designed commercial airplanes.
In response to
the airline industryís increasing need to outsource airplane modification
and engineering, Boeing established Boeing Airplane Services to
supply a full range of related services from technical consulting
to major conversions. Operators of Boeing- and Douglas-designed
commercial airplanes can now choose the level of support to provide
internally and request the remaining work from Boeing Airplane Services.
This allows operators to perform their own maintenance while shifting
modifications, upgrades, and retrofits to the original equipment
manufacturer (OEM) or to request all engineering, modification,
and maintenance work from Boeing Airplane Services.
new regulatory requirements, and market changes often make it difficult
for operators to delay incorporation of modifications and upgrades
until major maintenance checks. Instead, changes to address regulatory
compliance, improve operating efficiency, or enhance passenger appeal
must be made quickly. These include upgrades in avionics,
in-flight entertainment, cargo options, interiors, payload systems,
electrical systems, and environmental systems. As part of Boeing
Commercial Airplanes Group, Boeing Airplane Services is meeting
3,000 to 4,000 calls per year for engineering assistance on a variety
of requests, from after-sale support to 747 passenger-to-freighter
conversions. Boeing Airplane Services responds to these requests
for new modification and technical support work by using the same
engineering and modification knowledge and experience that has always
been available from Boeing Customer Services for warranty and other
fleet support. This includes the ability to call upon the full range
of Boeing design engineering disciplines, project management, and
large-scale integration skills. In addition, partnerships with hardware
suppliers, modification houses, airlines, and leasing companies
help create a single source of expertise for engineering and modification
requirements for the more than 10,500 Boeing commercial airplanes
now in service.
As a result, operators
receive service that is planned and managed to minimize downtime
when multiple conversion and upgrade activities are needed. For
instance, upgrades such as the advanced common flight deck can add
value to a DC-10. When coupled with a passenger-to-freighter conversion,
making the airplane an MD-10, the converted airplane re-enters service
in its cargo configuration with fleet standardization retrofits
Services is equipped to respond to the many factors operators must
evaluate when purchasing engineering and modification services:
and competitive issues.
Aviation regulatory agencies around the world have demonstrated
their preference for the OEM to participate in airplane modifications.
They believe that the resulting work offers maximum assurance of
safety and total integration with all aspects of the airplane. Modifications
and upgrades are made consistent with OEM design and quality standards.
Boeing Airplane Services can provide an integrated work package
that includes the engineering, parts, publications, training, and
installation labor. When certification responsibility rests with
Boeing, the regulator and the operator are assured of consistent
and complete data linked to the original type certificate. Selecting
the specific certification method best suited for a particular modification
minimizes the total cost to the operator. This can simplify the
subsequent modification of other airplanes in the operatorís fleet
or the incorporation of similar changes in new airplanes before
QUALITY AND EXPERIENCE
Modification work performed by the OEM benefits from a comprehensive
understanding of the airplane. Production parts and materials are
used wherever applicable, and every work package is considered from
a total systems integration perspective. Engineering, operations,
and quality assurance experts are experienced with the work and
the unique requirements for each airplane, and work performed by
Boeing Airplane Services carries the Boeing warranty. As the OEM,
Boeing can anticipate any side effects some modifications may cause
and recommend a strategy for minimizing how they can alter airplane
or systems performance.
Every aspect of modifying, upgrading, or maintaining an airplane
is accompanied by a cost associated with a combination of the following
Extensive data from analysis, simulations, and testing are compiled
when an airplane is originally designed, and these data are augmented
by subsequent production changes. The result is a large library
of proprietary information already available to meet many of the
requirements necessary for an amended type certificate or a supplemental
type certificate (STC). In many cases, using these data can reduce
the time needed to return the airplane to service.
A common cost factor associated with modification work is the ability
to complete work packages quickly and return the airplane to revenue
service. Because Boeing Airplane Services can access a large number
of Boeing resources, it can call on employees with skills from multiple
disciplines to complete a variety of work packages concurrently.
For example, an airplane undergoing an avionics upgrade could also
have a D-check and retrofit work performed at the same time. Combined
with timelier certification, the cost savings in reduced downtime
could be significant.
Many modifications enhance the resale value of an airplane or are
required by leasing companies to meet the needs of their next customer.
Boeing Airplane Services works with operators to identify all factors
that can increase resale value. These factors include dual certification
(from both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] and Joint
Aviation Authorities), provisions for easier subsequent modifications,
or incorporation of applicable service bulletins.
Maintaining commonality by using existing airplane parts and installations
in a modification reduces the operatorís total inventory and can
Increased performance options can earn an operator millions of dollars
in revenue throughout the lifetime of a converted freighter. Maximum
zero-fuel weight, maximum landing weight, maximum takeoff weight,
and engine upgrades improve performance substantially, especially
when compared with typical STC modifications. Enhancements to improve
passenger appeal also can benefit operating revenue, especially
in markets where airline differentiation substantially affects load
factors. Filling one additional premium class seat per flight can
yield between $0.9 million and $2.5 million a year per airplane,
depending on airplane type and route. Project management and engineering
support from Boeing Airplane Services can minimize the installation
costs, downtime, and airplane performance effects associated with
passenger cabin upgrades.
Boeing Airplane Services offers the expertise and design specifications
to modify any of the more than 10,500 Boeing airplanes flying today,
providing operators with a certain economy of scale. Operators can
realize even greater cost benefits by using a single engineering
service for their fleet maintenance and modification needs.
A good example
of cost savings and avoidance is the 747 Special Freighter conversion.
The basic modification turns a 747-100/-200/-300 passenger airplane
into a freighter with the addition of a side cargo door, strengthened
main deck, main deck cargo-handling and restraint system, power
drive system, upper deck seating, and up to 590,000 lb (269,892
kg) of maximum zero-fuel weight. Boeing builds a payload advantage
into the conversion by constructing an entirely new floor system,
which weighs less than the original floor yet provides the necessary
strength for cargo. Some other modification organizations strengthen
the beams of the airframe with extra materials, adding weight and
the need for additional spare parts. Based on domestic operation
with an average 2,000-nmi trip distance, the 747-100 Special Freighter
needs only 51 tons (46 t) of its available 101 tons (92 t) to offset
total trip costs. The remaining 50 tons (45 t) is profit potential.
The functionality, reliability, and performance of the 747 are maximized
in the conversion.
The example of
the 747 Special Freighter is especially significant because of the
most recent air cargo forecast, projecting cargo traffic worldwide
to rise an average of 6.4 percent per year for the next 20 years
-- triple that of current levels. To meet that need, 2,346 new freighters
will enter service. An estimated 73 percent of these will come from
the conversions of passenger and combination passenger/freighter
aircraft to freighters, and 1,324 of these will be Boeing airplanes.
Of that number, nearly 850 will be large-capacity freighter airplanes.
MARKET AND COMPETITIVE ISSUES
Small changes in load factors can translate into significant changes
to an operatorís profits. Operators must respond effectively to
changes in the marketplace and competitorsí initiatives before load
factors and customer loyalties erode. Boeing Airplane Services engineering
and technical consulting services can help operators understand
their options and develop a plan for maximum revenue, whether for
a passenger-to-freighter conversion, a new entertainment system,
or a new-look interior. Once the plan is developed, Boeing Airplane
Services can assist with project management on any or all parts
of an upgrade program.
The availability of expertise, spare parts, applicable technical
manuals, and service bulletins also significantly affects an operatorís
costs. Boeing Airplane Services offers one-stop shopping for engineering,
certification, parts, publications, recovery and modification services,
and installation labor.
Expert knowledge in electronics, avionics, airframe systems, propulsion,
and structures means multiple services can be performed concurrently.
Expertise in large-scale systems integration and project management
means all work will be performed efficiently, effectively, and to
the highest Boeing standards, reducing total cost and downtime.
Services performs modifications involving all degrees of complexity
and specializes in passenger-to-freighter conversions, flight-deck
improvements, performance improvements, and passenger cabin upgrades.
Also available is a complete range of technical services to help
operators develop solutions to technical problems.
Services has access to the original airplane drawings for all Boeing-
and Douglas-designed airplanes as well as the original design, test,
and analysis data. Operator comments and input are additional sources
of technical data that Boeing Airplane Services uses to develop
solutions to common problems and requirements across the entire
fleet of in-service Boeing airplanes.
Examples of work
Boeing Airplane Services can provide because of its broad expertise
and access to required data include modification kits to install
a global positioning system throughout an entire fleet, and technical
assistance to replace VHF navigation receivers with FM-immune multimode
is implementation of airborne collision avoidance systems. Boeing
Airplane Services has knowledge of the installation of electronic
equipment, such as antenna radiation patterns, antenna location
and cutouts, and electromagnetic compatibility environment. This
information, combined with the design data and experience with traffic
collision avoidance systems, allows Boeing Airplane Services to
provide operators with a successful retrofit modification.
Boeing Airplane Services is thoroughly familiar with both Boeing-
and Douglas-designed airframes and systems and can provide the requested
modifications, upgrades, or retrofits in the optimal configuration
at minimum cost and risk.
Boeing modifications are built from production standards for those
airplanes still in production. As a result, new parts benefit from
any reliability, efficiency, or performance improvements incorporated
since the airplane was built, translating to fewer parts and fewer
spares required later. Boeing Airplane Services can ensure the availability
of spare parts, when required, if the parts are issued by Boeing.
Service bulletins and operator manuals that follow a Boeing modification
reflect the new configuration of that integrated airplane system.
In typical third-party STC modifications, the manuals and bulletins
will be limited to the specific work done.
modification services (RAMS).
RAMS provides comprehensive, integrated assistance to recover a
disabled airplane. This organization provides the labor, skills,
parts, plans, tools, and materials necessary to return damaged airplanes
to service with the minimum effect possible on schedule and revenue.
RAMS service includes accurate, documented damage assessments, analysis
of repair options, and repair, including specialized repair work.
Service bulletin and FAA Airworthiness Directive work can be performed
concurrently with other repair activity. RAMS also maintains special
tooling and kits for direct customer lease.
Boeing Airplane Services has extensive installation and modification
capability in Wichita and Long Beach. The organization can also
assist operators who choose to perform installation work at their
own facilities or use a third-party modification shop.
Services offers a complete range of modification and engineering
services for operators of Boeing- and Douglas-designed commercial
airplanes. By working with Boeing resources and suppliers,
Boeing Airplane Services can perform any level of work requested
by operators while meeting Boeing standards for original manufacture
and federal regulatory standards for rework. This work ranges
from avionics upgrades to passenger-to-freighter conversions,
all with commensurate benefits for operators. Examples include
the millions of dollars in additional revenue operators can
realize by converting a passenger airplane to a freighter
or by adding passenger amenities, such as in-flight entertainment
systems, that can result in higher passenger load factors.
DIRECTOR - PUGET SOUND ENGINEERING
BOEING AIRPLANE SERVICES