717s delivered to your door
Long Beach delivery team mirrors automobile industry
Here's an idea: Instead of airline customers coming to Boeing to test and inspect their new airplanes, why not just deliver them when ready right to their doorsteps?
Far-fetched? Not for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Long Beach, Calif. After extensive research and working closely with 717 launch customer AirTran Airways, the Long Beach Division team developed a new delivery process that does just that.
The process saves the customer both time and money.
Airline customers usually send their pilots and support personnel to Long Beach to fly and inspect new airplanes before accepting them. When completely satisfied, they climb aboard and fly home.
But after researching how automakers deliver their cars to dealers, the team decided to mirror the automotive approach, working with AirTran to deliver its new 717s directly to the carrier's Orlando, Fla., headquarters, using Boeing pilots and a small support team. And, as with other airplane models, Boeing pays for full fuel tanks for the delivery flight.
The approach is being well received by Air Tran.
"This is a true testament to what can be accomplished when airlines and manufactures work toward the common goal of building quality into the production and delivery process," said Nick Drivas, AirTran's director of Quality Assurance.
AirTran now no longer incurs the expense of sending pilots and maintenance and contracts personnel for up to eight days to accept delivery of a new 717. Instead the airline keeps its employees on the job performing their regular duties.
Boeing maintenance experts accompany each AirTran 717 on its flight in case of a problem and are available to train customer personnel in Orlando. Boeing pilots also are available to re-fly the airplane if necessary before introduction into revenue service. And Boeing-owned critical spare parts are available if needed at the customer's home station.
So far, Boeing has delivered six new 717s to AirTran successfully using this approach with demonstrated high quality and no need for an extra flight simply for customer inspection.
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