Boeing Frontiers
November 2003
Volume 02, Issue 07
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Cover Story
All in a day's Work

BCA's Commercial Aviation Services unit has the energy, ability and attitude to help airlines succeed

All in a day’s Work Supporting the world's largest fleet of commercial jetliners might strike some aviation-industry watchers as a job too big to handle. For the people of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services , it's all in a day's work.

Jetliners built by the companies that now make up Boeing comprise almost 70 percent of the world's commercial jet fleet. Operators of each of these 12,000 airplanes rely daily on the CAS organization and its industry-leading full range of support services and products.

Established by Boeing more than 65 years ago, the forerunner of CAS set the standards for the fundamentals of aviation support—made up of spares, training, maintenance documents and technical advice. CAS executives said the organization's goal is to provide services that can help customers improve fleet utilization, reduce costs, leverage leading-edge information management across operations, and ensure passenger well-being—all of which can help airlines during today's softened market conditions.

"We are absolutely a customer-focused organization. Especially in today's difficult operating environment, airlines depend more than ever on our support," said Mike Cave, Commercial Aviation Services senior vice president. (At press time, Cave was named senior vice president, Airplane Programs for BCA, and Lou Mancini was named senior vice president, Commercial Aviation Services.) "We're doing everything everything we can to help restore the industry's health. At the same time, we believe the potential is great to build our business by offering more solutions that can improve the airlines' bottom lines while enhancing the overall air transport system."

This approach, Cave said, reinforces the overall goal of Boeing Commercial Airplanes: building a safe and efficient global air transportation system. To do so, he added, "we must run a healthy core business—not only producing and delivering the world's finest airplanes, but supporting them in service as well."

All in a day’s Work Although CAS is made up of several specialized business units, it presents itself to customers by emphasizing capabilities rather than organizational structure. Five key capabilities allow CAS to tailor business solutions to meet the needs of individual airline customers.

Global customer support

Commercial Aviation Services has developed a worldwide infrastructure to support airline schedules, resolve technical difficulties, provide quick access to technical information and deliver vital products and services when and where they're needed. These services meet the immediate day-to-day needs of the industry through on-site expertise and dedicated facilities as well as through on-call and on-line accessibility.

At the forefront of the global support team are 234 field service representatives in 66 countries who help customers with their Boeing fleets. The field reps can marshal the full resources of Boeing, including the in-depth expertise of service engineering specialists, who focus on preventing and resolving in-service technical problems.

Service engineers and other technical experts help staff the Boeing Rapid Response Center to provide technical advice, even during off hours. If an airplane is out of service because of damage or a major technical problem, CAS offers an incident recovery and repair service that's ready to dispatch expert help anywhere.

Internet communications offers another layer of support for Boeing fleet operators worldwide. The MyBoeingFleet Web portal serves as a single point of contact for obtaining virtually all of the information needed to operate and maintain the fleet.

"When we introduced MyBoeingFleet in May 2000, we had no idea that the site would be averaging seven million hits a month in only three years of operation," said Barb Claitman, director of Information Systems for CAS. Claitman added that in a typical month, nearly 296 gigabytes of data pass through the portal—an amount equivalent to nearly 60 million pages of text.

Recently, airlines have been able to integrate the portal into their intranets. Last summer, Southwest Airlines became the first carrier to implement this capability, which permitted a nearly tenfold increase in the number of Southwest employees able to access MyBoeingFleet.

"Significant cost savings and process improvements were immediately realized at our maintenance locations," said Barry Smithley, manager of Maintenance Programs at Southwest. "We've reduced maintenance manual distribution and revision control, while putting the information that our engineers and mechanics need at their fingertips."

All in a day’s Work Spares and logistics support

CAS operates an extensive spare-parts sales and distribution network, maintaining inventory for about 500,000 types of parts and processing about 1.8 million shipments annually. Distribution centers in Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Singapore, Beijing and London, as well as Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, provide broad geographic coverage that brings spares inventories closer to customers for lower shipping costs and shortened delivery times. In fact, for "airplane on ground" orders, shipments from inventory are prepared in two hours or less.

For additional speed and convenience, customers can place orders through the Boeing Part Analysis and Requirement Tracking, or PART Page Web site, which is linked to the MyBoeingFleet Web portal, or via electronic data interchange. More than 90 percent of CAS spares business now is transacted electronically, which reduces paperwork and processing for customers as well as Boeing.

To further improve logistics support, CAS implemented an innovative Global Airline Inventory Network program that manages the supply chain for expendable airframe parts and reduces airlines' materials management costs. "The program has provided Japan Airlines with significant savings related to spare parts procurement, management and administrative support while improving operations and maintenance service levels," said Yukihiko Kanda, component services deputy vice president at Japan Airlines, one of the launch customers for the new program. "This program is truly a win-win for the customer and the supplier."

Bill Krebs, director of the program, noted that CAS is studying an expansion of this service into an integrated materials management model. "Under this concept, Boeing would manage the inventory at a customer site, provide on-site planning and replenishment, and work together with suppliers to provide an integrated supply chain solution," Krebs said. "This will help eliminate some of the resources needed by our customers, reduce their inventory and logistics costs, and improve the level of parts service to their maintenance operations."

Maintenance and engineering

In recent years, CAS has helped lead the industry in converting from paper and microfilmed reference manuals to all-digital formats, which saves time, improves accuracy and reduces the need for storage facilities. This information, along with materials from other reference sources, is available on the MyBoeingFleet Web portal.

CAS has pioneered the use of specialized digital tools, such as its Portable Maintenance Aid software. This application can be loaded onto a laptop computer to quickly help troubleshoot aircraft at the gate. Another offering, known as Enterprise One, is a suite of software modules that can manage the entire maintenance process.

One of the newest digital concepts, Airplane Health Management, is currently in a test phase. It is an integrated family of information products and services that will collect, monitor and analyze airplane data on in-service airplanes, allowing for faster repairs and, in many cases, the ability to predict faults and prevent equipment failures before they occur.

CAS has also helped airlines modernize their maintenance programs, design ground support equipment and apply human factors research to reduce maintenance errors. In addition, CAS conducts a variety of maintenance-related consulting services and studies, and it offers periodic maintenance seminars to boost proficiency.

Other key CAS maintenance services include repair, overhaul and exchange of avionic and hardware components. Also, two Boeing subsidiaries play important roles in aviation maintenance. Continental DataGraphics provides customized documentation to airlines, including parts catalogs and digitized information, and Aero-Info Systems offers advanced software to manage maintenance activities.

Enhancements and modifications

With full access to the engineering data used to design Boeing and McDonnell Douglas jetliners, CAS can help airlines modify aircraft configurations, enhance fleet performance and improve cabin amenities. The modification engineering staff oversees passenger-to-freighter conversions by providing design, engineering and project management expertise while partnering with some of the industry's best-known modification centers.

Boeing also is offering a freighter conversion program to change 747-400 passenger or "combi" airplanes into freighters. "It's an excellent opportunity for operators to leverage airplanes that are underutilized because of the unprecedented downturn we've seen during the past two years," said Mike Stewart, vice president of Freighter Conversions for CAS. Boeing expects the 747-400 Special Freighter, as it will be called, to be certified and enter service in late 2005.

Drawing on extensive experience in large-scale systems integration, CAS also offers avionics-upgrade programs that include everything from engineering and design to parts, integrated manuals and customer support. Other upgrade offerings include those for the airframe, propulsion and systems areas.

CAS has taken a leading role in developing improved security features for the world fleet. New flight deck doors that meet the latest security requirements are available for all Boeing and McDonnell Douglas-designed aircraft. In fact, Boeing was the first commercial airplane maker to receive FAA door certification for its entire line of aircraft.

All in a day’s Work Flight operations support

CAS provides full support for airline flight operations, including innovative information-management solutions and a global training network. Support also extends to the general, business and military aviation markets through Boeing subsidiaries Jeppesen, SBS International and Alteon. Every Boeing airplane is provided with essential certification and operational data. Before, during and after delivery of new airplanes, Boeing operations engineers and pilots work closely with airline flight operations departments, tailoring support to meet each carrier's unique operating environment.

As part of a broad effort to e-enable the air-transport system, CAS has taken a leading role in developing ways to integrate and manage all the information generated in the air transport enterprise, including the flight deck of each airplane. An airplane that's e-enabled potentially can lower airline costs, improve dispatch reliability, reduce passenger-stranding delays and cancellations, improve passenger services, enhance aviation security and provide real-time situational awareness for both flight crews and airline operations centers.

Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen has a pivotal role in this effort through its Electronic Flight Bag, which contains digitized versions of charts, manuals and other documentation typically carried by pilots. SBS International also has a role with its flight crew scheduling software.

"We're working with our subsidiary companies to offer content, applications and services that connect all the data generated by an entire flight operation," said Ray Marzullo, vice president of Flight Services. "Ultimately this will help pilots, maintenance crews and airline operations centers share vast stores of information seamlessly and in real time for increased efficiency, improved passenger experience and increased revenue."

To prepare airlines for these and other advancements as new airplanes are introduced, Boeing has long provided training to flight and maintenance crews. Since 1994 this service has been offered at one of the industry's most advanced training facilities, the Boeing Training Center in Seattle. Boeing greatly expanded its training services in 1997 through a joint venture that created the world's largest airline training network. Today the organization is known as the wholly-owned Boeing subsidiary Alteon Training, combining the Seattle training center with 20 other facilities around the globe.

* * * * * *

With these capabilities in its portfolio, Commercial Aviation Services has built a multifunctional, globally oriented support organization that's committed to its customers. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that CAS marketing communications materials focus on this message, which also serves to describe the CAS mission:

"Our objective is to give you the flexibility you need to successfully confront business challenges and take advantage of opportunities as they emerge. At Commercial Aviation Services, the health of your business is our top priority—we're committed to your success."

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