Maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs at Dubai World Central Airport

Maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs
Maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs

Maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs at Dubai World Central Airport

  1. Proposal Summary

Maintenance as well as aviation safety programs are implemented for the purpose of encouraging maintenance station and air carrier employees to voluntarily forward reports on errors, a practice which is fundamental in making sure there is identification of potential causes of accidents and/or incidents.

Under aviation safety programs, proactive action is taken to resolve safety issues rather than by disciplining or punishment the concerned individuals. As a result, these programs are aimed at enhancing aviation safety mainly by preventing incidents and accidents both at the airport as well as air carriers by focusing on encouraging compliance to the safety issues’ reporting voluntarily.

For instance, the introduction of Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) in the flight domain within the aviation industry was encouraged by the hope of motivating pilots towards disclosing their errors, and also of significance reporting the factors that may have contributed to the errors.  

Thus, keeping a record of these reports may help in the implementation of systemic solutions in order to preclude recurrence. Generally, the air carriers can significantly benefit from their maintenance and/or safety programs, which can be essential in addressing the identified systemic discrepancies that could have otherwise resulted to detrimental effects if left unresolved.   

Maintenance and safety play a significant role in maintaining airline fleets throughout the world through appropriate ASAPs. ASAPs provide a blanket term for all the services that relate to assuring the safety and airworthy of aircraft. Ayeni, Baines, Lightfoot and Ball (2011) noted that the global market worth of the ASAPs market is $50 billion. ASAPs providers and implementers typically provide four main capabilities: Engine, Airframe, Airport, as well as Component Services. Dubai World Center (DWC) is located at Dubai City.

The airport opened first as a cargo operations center but later opened for passengers handling services and flights in 2013. The airport is touted as the next world’s largest global gateway due to its capacity of more than 160 million passengers every year. For this reason, many airlines will operate from the airport and this will necessitate the need for maintenance and repair organization, which must be accompanied by appropriate safety programs.

Air transport, cargo operators, and airlines operate schedules that require high utilization and serviceability levels and minimum cost. Since they have high capital and utilization costs, they require a large amount of support by the ASAPs. The airlines operate large fleets of aircraft, and since many of their aircraft are on the lease, they require that they have high maintenance so that they can maximize their value in agreement with the requirements of the lesser. This paper explores the feasibility of ASAPs in DWC.

The United Arab Emirates has four airlines operating from various countries such as the Emirates airline & Fly Dubai operating from Dubai International Airport, Etihad operating from Abu Dhabi International Airport as well as Air Arabia operating from Sharjah International Airport. All of these airlines operate fleets of varied aircrafts ranging from Airbus A330 to heavy duty and new generation Boeings B800; whereby the number of aircrafts owned by Emirates Airline, Fly Dubai, and Etihad are 260, 49 and 122 respectively.

The management of ASAPs by these airlines is either in-house or through outsourcing. For example, Emirates and Etihad accomplish maintenance of their fleet and management of ASAPs at their facility; whereas Air Arabia outsources this from Joramco in Jordan, Amman. In addition, Fly Dubai outsources aircraft maintenance and management of ASAPs from ADAT in Abu Dhabi.    

  1. Topic Literature Review    

According to Ait-Kadi, Duffuaa, Knezevic and Raouf (2009), ASAPs play a significant role in making sure that optimal safety levels are sustained including providing maintenance that is in relation to the process of promoting airworthiness of the airport as well as the air carriers’ condition. Also, Easterby-Smith, Thorpe and Jackson (2012) noted that ASAPs provide maintenance of damaged components of the airport or an aircraft as a strategy to ensure they operate properly in order to improve safety.

Choules (2013) evaluated the need for ASAPs for commercial aircraft as well as large airlines including Emirates, Fly Dubai, Etihad, and Air Arabia in order to provide them with support throughout their operational network and found that these programs were of vital significance. According to Jankowicz (2004), minor maintenance and safety actions may be needed at remote destinations, even though it is more significant if they are done at the operational bases of respective air carriers.

According to Jankowicz (2004), in his study to examine the need of ASAPs for military aircraft operators found that operators of military aircrafts required high maintenance and safety action service reliability and availability considering the complexity of their functions and they are more expensive compared to other aircrafts.

Furthermore, Ait-Kadi, Duffuaa, Knezevic and Raouf (2009) suggested that unlike the airlines, small aircrafts such as helicopters which operate in a an area that is relatively small, and cannot fly for long distances than typical airlines as well as other aircrafts with fixed wings require less aggressive ASAPs.    

  1. Objectives

The primary objectives of this study include:

  1. To investigate the impacts of establishing maintenance aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport.
  2. To explore the services and functions to be offered by the maintenance aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport.
  3. To recognize key factors that will encourage global airliners to embrace the appropriate fleet maintenance aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport.
  4. To establish the internal and external factors that impact maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport.
  5. To establish appropriate recommendations and conclusions which identify approaches of solving the negative impacts of these factors on maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport.  

It is essential to determine that the maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs are an imperative approach in the process of making sure that there is seamless running of operations at an airport whether locally, regionally or internationally recognized, which can influence the goals stipulated by the respective airports negatively or positively.

In this case, the maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs can be impacted by a number of components in a work environment due to the vital role they play in ensuring airport operations take place without incidences or accidents that can possibly translate to significant levels of losses.

The aim of this study therefore, is to draw a focus on some of the programs established by Dubai World Central Airport with regards to maintenance and aviation safety action. In particular, this study will make sure that some of the variables affecting the maintenance and aviation safety action both internally and externally are succinctly detailed.  

As a result, this paper proposes establishing maintenance aviation safety action programs at Dubai Central airport including safety equipment such as escape slide rafts and life jackets, among others. In addition, the study will also consider the safety maintenance operations at the aircraft structural repair workshop, brakes, and wheels overhaul workshop, engine module replacement facility as well as Non-Destructive Test facility.

Therefore, considering that Dubai World Central Airport present operations are within a limited number of airlines, the ongoing plans to ensure that it is converted to multi runways operation makes it essential to prioritize maintenance and safety programs. This is attributable to the fact that, the major infrastructural development plans envisaged to take place in the near future will require ambitious as well as comprehensive maintenance aviation safety action programs.

  1. Project Outcomes

Establishing maintenance aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport is a venture of fundamental importance not only to the airport facility, but also for the airlines expected to be using the airport since there will close monitoring and evaluation of airport as well as airlines activities’ safety while at the same time ensuring that maintenance of the airport and/or airplane is progressing.

This means that, maintenance and safety is an inevitable activity program to undertake as the airlines to be served by the airport of interest continue to grow bigger in terms of fleet strength and customer base. Thus, outsourcing maintenance activity as well as implementation of aviation safety action programs will be beneficial because they will play an imperative role in making sure that these airlines can invest their resources on their core business of airline’s operations.

Establishing these kind of programs can significantly help the airlines in reducing their operational costs by ensuring that, very minimal accidents or incidents are reported at the airports as well as the airplanes used by the airlines to transport passengers. In addition, capital investment will be freed up by these programs since they have a potential of reducing inventory control, upon obtaining approval from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.

Moreover, these maintenance aviation safety action programs ought to be implemented in collaboration with pilots, airline operators, airline attendants, airport employees as well as maintenance engineers.

Therefore, in order for the research aims and objectives to be achieved, the structure of the study and analysis will follow the format shown below:

  • Analysis of the currently available maintenance and safety programs at the airport.
  • Identification of factors necessary for the establishment of maintenance aviation safety action programs at DWC Airport.
  • Explore the sustainability of MRO market at DWC.
  • Analyze and understand key factors that forces airlines to choose this new MRO.
  • Investigate factors that have potential to encourage compliance to maintenance aviation safety action programs at DWC Airport.
  1. Why are you interested in the project?

The reason why am interested in this project is because, it has always been my dream to ensure that air transportation becomes safe by significantly reducing accidents and incidents both at the airports and airplanes through establishment of reliable and effective maintenance and aviation safety action programs. In addition, professional curiosity that is primarily business-oriented has also attracted by attention towards undertaking a study on this crucial topic.

For instance, an observation of the huge infrastructural investments made by airports as well as airlines managements, I found it worthy to embark on this study to establish if maintenance and safety action programs put in place are sufficiently enough to ensure safety of commuters, airport infrastructure and the airplanes.

The desire to evaluate if the current maintenance and safety programs are economically viable was also another factor that motivated my interest in this project, especially considering that airplanes which have been developed in the recent past are technologically advanced meaning investment in their maintenance and safety resources has also grown significantly higher. Furthermore, my thoughts and interest in this project were substantially influenced by the training from MBA studies, which has pushed my desire to carry out an in-depth analysis of this subject.

  1. What are the key questions the project attempts to answer?
  2. What are the internal factors that affect maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport?
  3. What are the external factors that maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport?
  4. What are the approaches that can be employed in solving the internal and external factors that affect the maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport?        
  5. What Research Methods do you intend to use?

This project is going to be a quantitative research. According to Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2012), an appropriate research methodology is essential for any research process to be carried out effectively. The project will involve an exploratory case study to explore the operations of maintenance and safety programs at DWC Airport that are currently faced with high uncertainty levels.

In addition, limited information exists concerning the specific maintenance aviation safety action programs adopted by various airlines as well as the additional programs that airlines ought to adopt, particularly at the DWC Airport (Ross, 2003). The significance of exploratory case study research in this project is that, it will play an essential role in the identification of the salient features and factors that can potentially affect an establishment of maintenance and aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport, as well as determining the boundaries limiting the implementation of maintenance and safety action programs in aviation.

Easterby-Smith, Thorpe & Jackson (2012) noted that, inductive research method is an approach that allows specific observations to be made subsequent to moving them towards wider views, assumptions as well as theories. As a result, inductive research is envisaged to result to the development of the research hypotheses. However, analytical research in the aviation industry can play a significant role towards helping in succinct understanding of present and future trend of maintenance and safety action programs in the aviation industry through the meaningful insights obtained.

Various strategic and analytical management tools to be used in this study to evaluate the phenomenon under investigation include: PESTEL, SWOT, Performance Driver analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces analysis to investigate the strategic imperativeness, the socio-economic conditions, restrains and drivers in the aviation industry as well as the effectiveness and efficiency while establishing a maintenance aviation safety action programs at DWC Airport.

However, the project will involve participation of a randomly picked sample size of 200 participants from who primary data will be collected. Therefore, the research sample will particularly consist of airlines executives based at the airport, aviation consultants and regulatory body executives, as well as representatives of aircraft manufacturers.

During this study, I plan to investigate the airlines and airport maintenance and safety action programs as well as current and future strategies among various airlines that are utilized by DWC Airport towards heightening safety levels through their respective implementation plans together with the necessary operational elements including the technical expertise, human resources, capacity and available resources. This will be achieved by conducting specific statistical analysis using the information gathered from research participants based on SPSS.            

The quantitative data to be gathered for this study will be primarily collected from secondary sources of data through a review of the available literature materials and other online databases. Moreover, structured interviews will also be used in gathering information from airlines and airport personnel based at Dubai World Central airport with regards to maintenance and safety action programs currently in use as well as those envisaged to be implemented in future.

The responses obtained from randomly selected research participants to the structured interviews and questionnaires will then be used as the primary data for this project. Alternatively, the secondary data will primarily be collected from online sources and databases (Ghauri and Grønhaug, 2005). For instance, data concerning the present maintenance and safety and the extent of action programs adopted by the airport as well as various airlines will be established by reviewing literature from secondary sources.    

  1. What primary and/or secondary data sources do you intend to use?

In order to ensure that the research is appropriately carried out and the findings or results are credible and reliable, it is important to make sure that valid and unbiased sources of data are used. As a result, in this project I am planning to use both primary and secondary sources of data.

Therefore, am planning to conduct structured interviews, as well as administration of questionnaires [directly as well as via e-mails] to current administrators of maintenance aviation safety action programs, airlines executives based at the airport, aviation consultants and regulatory body executives,  as well as representatives of aircraft manufacturers in order to collect qualitative and quantitative data for this study.

The questionnaires with a set of questions will be forwarded to the randomly selected participants followed by structured interviews and email follow-ups to allow collection of valid and reliable data.

In addition, I will also collect secondary data for this study by reviewing published data on articles written about the subject. Secondary data will also be collected by reviewing aviation magazines, journals (both print and online), aircraft manufacturer websites, newspaper articles, and regulatory authority websites. 

Furthermore, I plan to physically visit the case study airport in order to interact and interview maintenance and safety programs’ administrators or managers so that I can get first-hand view of the subject. This will be achieved by conducting informal interviews as well as holding discussions with relevant personnel concerning day-to-day maintenance and safety action programs during my visit.

List of References       

Ait-Kadi, D., Duffuaa, S.O., Knezevic, J., & Raouf, A. (2009). Handbook of maintenance management and engineering. London: Springer.

Ayeni, P., Baines, T.S., Lightfoot, H., & Ball, P. (2011). State-of-the-art of ‘Lean’ in the aviation maintenance, repairs, and overhaul industry. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, p.0954405411407122.

Cameron, S. (2008). The MBA Handbook: skills for mastering management. London: Pearson Education.

Choules, C. (2013). Maintenance and repair organization Exposition. Retrieved on 10th September 2016 from:  

Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., & Jackson, P.R. (2012). Management research. Thousand Oaks, NJ: Sage.

Endsley, M.R. & Robertson, M.M. (2000). Situation awareness in aircraft maintenance teams. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 26(2), 301-325.

Ghauri, P.N. & Grønhaug, K. (2005). Research methods in business studies: A practical guide. New York, NY: Pearson Education.

Goddard, W. & Melville, S. (2004). Research methodology: An introduction. London, UK: Juta and Company Ltd. 

Graham, S. & Thrift, N. (2007). Out of order understanding repair and maintenance. Theory, Culture & Society, 24(3), 1-25.

Jankowicz, A D. (2004). Business Research Projects, (4th ed.). New York, NY: Thomson Learning.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research Methods for Business Students, (6th ed.). New York, NY: FT Prentice.

Peters, M.J., Howard, K., & Sharp, M.J.A. (2012). The management of a student research project. London: Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Robson, C. (2011). Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner Researchers. New York, NY: Blackwell Publishing.  

Ross, W.A. (2003). September. The impact of next generation test technology on aviation maintenance. In AUTOTESTCON 2003. IEEE Systems Readiness Technology Conference. Proceedings. IEEE. 

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