Virtual modification: Home edition

September 21, 2020 in Commercial, Technology

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic restricting travel, the Boeing Global Services Modification team recently undertook something they had never done before: support of a nose to tail modification in an entirely virtual setting while keeping the work on schedule.

The complete interior and connectivity modification for an All Nippon Airways (ANA) 777 took place at HAECO Xiamen, an MRO partner in China.

“One of the customer’s main concerns was issue resolution in an adequate timeframe,” said program manager Nilesh Patel. “We made a commitment to our customers to have issues resolved in a 24-hour window during modifications.”

To meet customer commitments, Boeing created a global support team, bringing together design and liaison talent in Long Beach, California, and Puget Sound, Washington, as well as Commercial Airplanes engineering colleagues in Moscow, Russia, and Kiev, Ukraine. This ensured round-the-clock support to meet the customer’s needs.

The Boeing team worked closely with ANA and HAECO Xiamen --using video, detailed photographs, and 3-D drawing markups -- to troubleshoot any issues and keep the complex modification on schedule.

Over the course of the modification, the Boeing team faced daily COVID-19 related challenges as well, including rapidly changing local conditions, lockdowns and the virtual work environment. However, through seamless resource alignment and constant communication, they were able to support their commitment to 24-hour turnaround cycle on issues, enabling the aircraft to return to service on time.

"This represents what Boeing is about: delivering value in meeting our customers’ critical needs, no matter what," said Robyn Jones, a senior manager at Boeing's Southern California Design Center for the Airplane Level Integration Team. "The team overcame incredible challenges and achieved what many would have argued was impossible when we set out, not only delivering on our commitment but going above and beyond to delight our customer."

Boeing is using varying degrees of virtual support on a number of active and scheduled commercial modifications, and anticipates continuing the practice throughout the pandemic and beyond.