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Major European Airline Group: Heavy Maintenance Provision Review

The challenge

A major European leisure airline group asked us to help develop a business plan and maintenance cost model to optimise heavy maintenance spend. The group operates 165 aircraft across five airlines, which were each planning and contracting their heavy maintenance work independently. Consequently, maintenance planning was sub-optimal, resulting in lower productivity at in-house facilities and excessive costs at outsourced locations. Our project focussed on:

  • analysing provision of maintenance across the group
  • evaluating the situation and proposing a way forward
  • optimising costs and quality across the group.

Our approach

By deploying a team of aviation experts with extensive experience in maintenance and finance, we performed a detailed analysis, reviewing heavy maintenance planning, work practices and procurement across the five airlines. Our analysis demonstrated large differences in hangar and workforce efficiency at the group’s two heavy maintenance bases in the UK and Germany.

To redress this, we created ten-year maintenance plan scenarios that forecast hangar utilisation and the volume of heavy maintenance that should be outsourced each year at the two in-house bases. We also developed a further ‘total outsource’ scenario.

We worked closely with UK and German in-house staff to understand the current workforce planning and human resources practices, and also the willingness and ability of both to embrace change. We developed a detailed business plan and maintenance cost model, identifying the optimum future set-up.

We then supported the successful implementation of recommendations, working closely with consultants engaged by trade union representatives in Germany.

The results

Following the presentation of our findings, the group made significant changes to their operations, including:

  • consolidation of group heavy maintenance into the UK heavy maintenance facility
  • closure of the heavy maintenance facility in Germany
  • introduction of industry-leading annualised hours scheme aligned to workload
  • improvements to cost base including increasing the mix of licensed engineers/technicians, and permanent/contract staff
  • moving all airlines onto 24-month Maintenance Planning Document (MPD) and aligned Approved Maintenance Program (AMP) for all airlines
  • outsourcing of heavy maintenance moved to LHT’s Eastern European base following tender process
  • identifying other areas of focus for the client’s Group Engineering Director
  • securing annual savings of €7.2m, representing approximately 40% of annual heavy maintenance spend.

Contact the aviation consulting team


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