Tuesday, January 22, 2013
If you ever face the situation that your flight is delayed because of some technical issues, then it’s our maintenance department which swings into action to sort out the problem. Our airplanes at SWISS destinations all around the world are handled by licensed engineers who are always ready to do whatever it takes to get them up in the air again.
SWISS engineers are present at 16 outstations worldwide and are responsible for the maintenance of the entire LX fleet. In addition, some customer aircraft are also maintained by SWISS. Depending on the schedule for SWISS and our customers, the engineer count varies between 1–10 per station. For other destinations where SWISS Maintenance is not present, we buy the service from other providers. SWISS Line Maintenance International also consists of an administration team and relief engineer team in Zürich.
I have spent 11 years working as a station engineer in LHR and IST. And I worked as a flying station engineer with Swissair for six years, followed by three years with SR Technics Switzerland in the Line Maintenance Customer Team and then with SWISS as a FSE again for 2 years.
One night about four years ago, at around 3 am, I was working as a flying station engineer on an A330 in RUH (Riyadh) and asked myself if this would still be the right and satisfying thing to do? After speaking to my family, I decided that was time for a change. Soon after, I was contacted by the SWISS maintenance management and asked to take over the position of Resource Management Line Maintenance International, which also includes the Relief Engineer Group. Due to my lengthy experience as a station engineer and also as a relief engineer this was the perfect move for me.
When it comes to an extreme bottleneck situation, I am also available to perform a duty myself. Such as a few years ago, when a massive earthquake in Indonesia occurred and a humanitarian flight was organised by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs that required the presence of a flying station engineer for the technical support during the whole trip. Although it was a very serious situation, I learnt so much from this special duty. It was about dealing with situations such as not knowing whether we have a high loader or conveyer belt for the offloading of the 25 tons of material. How do we offload or load the tow bar if no loading equipment is available? What does the airport look like? Do we get fuel? To me, it was very rewarding to see and feel how a team that has never worked together before grow together the longer the situation went on.
In view of the new aircraft to be expected in our fleet in 2014, the Bombardier CSeries, our relief engineer team will be ready to provide support in the form of flying station engineer services, especially at provider stations, during the introduction phase.