Continuing Airworthiness

As the airworthiness environment becomes ever more complex and integrated, we help organisations involved in the continuing airworthiness industry to understand how to operate a profitable and safe operation and reap the benefits of true safety performance.

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  • Significant performance improvements including greater aircraft reliability and
  • increased aircraft availability
  • Reduced business losses
  • Improved organisational efficiency
  • Improved Regulator confidence

With an evolving regulatory regime – and management system requirements soon to be mandated by the Continuing Airworthiness Regulations – understanding the intent of the regulations and being able to intelligently interpret and implement them is a challenge faced by many maintenance and repair organisations.

Challenges you may be facing

  • Keeping abreast of the constantly evolving regulatory landscape
  • Struggling to achieve an effective airworthiness function
  • Unclear picture of your current airworthiness management system

How we can help

Regulatory training – helping you to understand and apply the regulations within your organisation
Competence Development – showing you how to get the maximum performance out of your people and processes
Airworthiness Advisory and Diagnostic Services – uncovering areas of non-compliance and risk within your organisation and creating practical solutions to improve operational efficiency and reduce risk

What is Continuing Airworthiness?

Baines Simmons defines airworthiness as ‘the ability of an aircraft (or other airborne equipment or system) to operate without significant risk to flight and cabin crew, ground crew, passengers, cargo or mail (where relevant) or to the general public and property over which such airborne systems are flown.’
Continuing Airworthiness is, in the words of ICAO: ‘All of the processes ensuring that, at any time in its life, an aircraft complies with the technical conditions fixed to the issue of the Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) and is in a condition for safe operation.’ (source: ICAO Document No 9713 – 1998).

The benefits of effective airworthiness management

International standards, implemented through local legislation and regulation, place accountability for safe operations and airworthy aircraft with the Operator, but many organisations bear airworthiness responsibilities.

Approval from the regulator provides the legal privilege to operate, but what about the benefits that can be realised when you manage continuing airworthiness truly effectively? How closely are you navigating the boundaries of the ‘safety space’ – the delicate gap between bankruptcy and catastrophe – with your approach to continuing airworthiness? What mechanism does your organisation have in place to provide you with that overview and understanding? What would ‘effective’ even look like for your operation and would you recognise how to achieve it?

What are the practical skills and competence required for effective Continuing Airworthiness

At a practical level, our aim is to bridge gaps in knowledge and skills of those involved with an aircraft’s continuing airworthiness and maintenance. Misunderstandings of roles and responsibilities can lead to failures, resulting in poor reliability, degraded safety and higher costs. Having a good understanding of EASA Part M, Part 145, Part 147 and Part 66 regulations alongside a working knowledge of the principles of an Error Management System and a Safety Management System are required to help mitigate risks and reduce business losses.

How supportive is your organisational structure for achieving effective airworthiness management?

Even the best people with the best intentions cannot be successful without the necessary infrastructure to support them. The organisation needs to be set up adequately to satisfy its purpose of either managing the continuing airworthiness of its fleet of aircraft or maintaining them.

Resources (both human and technical), processes and procedures as well as the whole organisational structure need to be fit for purpose. It can be the difference between achieving optimum efficiencies and maximum effectiveness. Our aim, when working with you to review your capability, is to ensure you have a clear picture of what you have so that you can consider intelligently where you may need to increase investment or reduce your costs.

What role does the continuing airworthiness leadership team play in your organisation?

Your leadership team sets the tone of how you view continuing airworthiness. Do you feel your organisation is set up to be compliance (tick-box) driven only or is there real commitment to reap value from the activities? Do your people feel driven to look at the intent behind the regulations and apply them with the view to improving aircraft reliability and thereby increasing safety and reducing costs?

We have a great track record of working with leadership teams across the aviation industry to help them understand the safe space that they have to navigate between production and protection and to work with them to realise solutions that offer tangible benefits that can be seen in reduced rework, increased reliability and, ultimately, healthier bottom lines.

Are you confident that your assurance system is providing you with value?

Are your assurance activities seen as just a necessary expense or are they viewed from the perspective of what value they can offer? First and foremost, confidence that you are meeting the regulations is an output that you should see from your assurance activities. Continuous improvement is another.

Real business change that results in better performance is often attributable to assurance activities, where a systems approach has prevailed. Looking at latent as well as active failures and applying root cause analysis with rigour, effective assurance activities can make an impact on the organisation as well as pave the way towards performance-based oversight, which is the future of regulatory oversight.
Whether you are a CAMO (EASA/MRP Part M) or a maintenance organisation (EASA/MRP Part-145), we have extensive experience in supporting assurance activities to meet these challenges.

How would you assess your airworthiness culture?

Compliance with airworthiness standards alone is insufficient to provide you with the reassurance that your aircraft are safe. How confident are you that your organisation has a strong airworthiness culture? Do you recognise what a strong airworthiness culture can do for your organisation?

A strong airworthiness culture is a key asset in the task of navigating the space between ensuring the safety of aircraft and the operational needs of the organisation. It is an important adjunct to a proactive safety culture as well as a significant contributor to the bottom line.

Getting value from your airworthiness activities so that you have greater reliability and therefore greater aircraft availability is, for example, one of the major outcomes operators should be demanding from their CAMOs. This, therefore, is not just about dry compliance but rather an intelligent interpretation of the standards.

At Baines Simmons, we have united our well-regarded expertise in safety culture with our significant hands-on experience in continuing airworthiness to help organisations understand how to engage their staff on organisational cultural issues.