IFS and American Airlines have collaborated to develop a new fleet-planning application, which is designed to schedule heavy checks over the long term more flexibly to find the best solution, not just meet check requirements. The intent of the app, Fleet Planner, is to help find the check schedule that maximizes aircraft availability, although airlines can use it to find schedules that meet whatever criteria they choose.
Once the best check schedule is found, results can be fed into an airline’s maintenance execution system, whether Maintenix or another application. The results will also support the carrier’s fleet assignment application to assign aircraft to particular routes.
“It chooses the best plans, based on what-if scenarios,” explains Dan Dutton, IFS associate vice president of aerospace and defense products. American had previously used in-house software and a third-party planner, Omega’s AMES, both inherited from US Airways and the pre-merger American. Neither of these applications was regarded as a fully satisfactory solution.
The new IFS Fleet Planner automatically generates either simple or complex fleet-maintenance plans, lets users rate plans according to key performance indicators and then send the selected plan to the maintenance execution system.
IFS hopes the new tool may provide a wedge that could allow it to penetrate Tier 1 airlines, most of which have legacy maintenance systems, with its Maintenix application. But A&D execs acknowledge that these Tier 1 airlines have deep commitments to legacy software that are difficult to alter.
Fleet Planner is available on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis. SaaS versions, with no customization, should be more affordable than installed or managed cloud options for smaller airlines, says IFS.