Home' Asian Aviation : AAV November 2010 Contents MRO Supplement
A380 presents new
Airlines operating a eet of fewer than 20 Airbus A380s, the
world's largest jetliners, are unlikely to carry out scheduled
maintenance of the aircra themselves, as acquiring the tooling
and equipment would be costly.
Many maintenance tasks cannot be carried out on the A380
with the same equipment used on other aircra types, due to
the weight and size of the superjumbo. MAS Aerospace Engineering (MASAE)
managing director Mohd Roslan Ismail said the A380's size completely disrupts
is necessitates the acquisition of bigger and much stronger equipment, like
tripod jacks to li the aircra for landing-gear maintenance, or special torque
wrenches to remove and install the engine mounts.
" e mind-boggling cost to purchase the equipment for the maintenance would
prompt any airline with a eet of less than 20 to farm out the maintenance,"
MASAE's parent Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which ordered six A380s in
December 2005, has yet to decide whether to farm out the eet's maintenance
or pool resources with other airlines. Obser vers say that the latter seems a likely
Roslan says the carrier will cross that bridge when it comes to it. MAS built an
A380 hangar at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which is currently
used for 'C' checks on the airline's single-aisle 737-400 eet. e carrier will take
delivery of its rst A380 in the third quarter of 2012, two years behind the original
schedule. e remaining ve aircra will be handed over on a staggered basis
through to 2013.
"While we are disappointed with the delay, it gives us more time to think about
... which way to go" with maintenance, Roslan said.
It is not just new maintenance equipment that has to be acquired. Ground-
support equipment also has to be upgraded. New tow tractors are needed to move
the aircra between the terminal and maintenance bay, as the superjumbo is too
heavy for existing machinery used on other aircra types.
Construction of the massive hangar itself has been a challenge, while
construction of the tail dock presents more challenges, as it has to provide easy
access to aircra systems such as the auxiliary power unit (APU), ight-control
actuators, elevator, horizontal stabiliser and the tail n itself.
With the entry into service of the Airbus A380, the world's largest airliner, operators have had to come up with all-
new maintenance solutions, writes William Dennis.
SIA Engineering is set to be one of two Asia-
Pacific A380 scheduled-maintenance providers.
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