First Air Boeing 737-400 First Air

First Air Going Mobile On The Tundra

Canadian carrier First Air sheds paper for deferred maintenance logbook, will seek paperless docs in future.

It’s not always the biggest carriers that go for advanced MRO software. For example, First Air flies 17 Boeing 737s and ATR42s in Canada’s far north, and its motto is a cozy, “Fly The Arctic.” Efficiency considerations aside, these are not destinations where you want mechanics spending any more time on the tarmac than necessary, or fiddling, gloveless, with lots of paper forms.

First Air has implemented TRAX’s eMobility suite. Rashwan Domloge, vice president of maintenance and engineering, says the main goal is enabling maintenance teams to wirelessly manage any aircraft via their mobile devices from wherever they are working. “A mechanic can access real-time information and perform real-time transactions,” Domloge notes. “When outside of wireless range, the offline-synchronization feature stores the data on the tablet until the user returns within range and it is automatically synchronized.”

The major gains he expects are efficiency, cost reduction and improved safety by carrying each task with the maintenance manual reference pages next to the task card.

Implementation has taken nine months so far. Domloge expects complete coverage within another three months. The mobile functions are those used by line stations.

First Air plans to go paperless for maintenance documentation in the future but has not yet decided on the type of electronic signatures that will be used. But use of TRAX’s eMobility software has completely eliminated the paper deferred maintenance logbook, and replaced it with iPads.

Domloge says the major challenge in implementing mobility was IT. “IT involvement is essential for any software mobility to work, and IT does face hardware challenges.”

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