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This July we will celebrate the first anniversary of the Rapid Response Center. The RRC, as we call it, is our one-stop source of help for customers’ airplane on ground (AOG) situations outside of normal working hours: at night, on weekends, and during holidays. The intent of this Boeing Customer Support organization is to provide operators with real-time help during those periods when help is difficult to find.

Though Boeing has always offered around-the-clock support to our customers, this is the first time we have assembled a broad team of technical experts in one room. The RRC is based at Boeing Customer Support in Seattle, Washington, and is linked by videoconferencing equipment to our satellite office in Everett, Washington.

In the past 12 months we have assisted 400 operators with nearly 5,000 AOGs while averaging a response time of 1.6 hours. We estimate that the resulting savings to our customers was about $50 million. We have not always been perfect in our ability to respond, but we have been close. We met our customers’ expectations 96 percent of the time, and we’re getting even better. Our priorities continue to be real-time active AOGs, pending AOGs, and hangar work stoppages (hangar AOGs).

During the Boeing strike earlier this year the RRC had to operate at reduced capacity, and the volume of technical problems was overwhelming. We brought in several extra people on a temporary basis and were able to at least help resolve most active and pending AOGs. Shortly after the strike ended we were back to our normal level of support.

The foundation of the RRC is our highly experienced team of structures engineers, stress analysts, systems troubleshooters, technical support engineers, maintenance engineers, spares specialists, and Field Service representatives. We have 10 to 12 people on duty each shift, including a shift manager. On average during our first year of operation we were able to resolve 75 percent of the technical issues ourselves. This means we didn’t have to wake up any of the people who staff our Customer Support and design organizations during the regular workday. Then, we followed up on the issues with these "daytime" organizations to ensure consistency and continuity.

We believe the RRC is the industry’s only real-time detailed technical help desk for a large-airplane manufacturer. In the future we plan to expand our capabilities even further. We plan to incorporate into our staff designated engineering representatives as well as the people in Long Beach, California, who support our Douglas-designed airplanes.

Our mission is to do everything we can to keep our airplanes flying. We encourage any operator with an AOG or pending AOG to call us at 206-544-7555.

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