Regularly scheduled aircraft maintenance is an essential component to maintaining the airworthiness of any aircraft. Unlike a car where maintenance is optional, every jet has a specific maintenance timeline— when inspections must be completed— that are outlined by a combination of governing groups. These groups include the Maintenance Review Board, aircraft manufacturer, and FAA; and exist to ensure that maintenance standards are implemented for overall aviation safety. Without the required maintenance, an aircraft is legally “grounded” or unable to fly.
How Scheduled Maintenance Timelines Change
A particular aircraft’s maintenance timeline will change due to a variety of factors including the year the jet was built, hours flown, and number of landings. Maintenance is a cost of private jet ownership that comprises approximately 30 percent of an aircraft’s operating budget. “The maintenance expense for a private jet, in a given year, depend on the age of the aircraft, the size of the aircraft, and the inspection cycles,” says Ed Mirzakhanian, Vice President of Maintenance and Business Development for Clay Lacy Aviation. “In general, a newer aircraft requires less maintenance. As an aircraft ages, the required maintenance increases as the scope of inspections become more extensive.”
“The maintenance expense for a private jet…depend on the age of the aircraft, the size of the aircraft, and the inspection cycles.”
—Ed Mirzakhanian, Vice President of Maintenance and Business Development
Newer vs. Older
Ed allegorically paints the picture of a maintenance timeline, for a private jet, to that of purchasing and maintaining a vehicle. “Someone could buy a brand new BMW or purchase a vintage sports car,” Ed explains. “The maintenance costs incurred on the older, luxury vehicle would be higher— and the amount of time spent to maintain the vehicle would also be significantly greater.” Similarly, a newer private jet’s maintenance requirements are lower and less invasive than an older business jet. “Every aircraft will always need scheduled maintenance inspections,” says Ed. “But, the amount of time and the total cost will depend on the jet’s condition at purchase and at what point, within the ‘maintenance timeline,’ an aircraft is acquired.”
“Every aircraft will always need scheduled maintenance inspections, but the amount of time and the total cost will depend on the jet’s condition at purchase.”
The Details Of Aircraft Maintenance
The aircraft acquisition age is an important point of consideration when determining scheduled maintenance requirements for the future. Generally, a jet is owned for six to eight years before an owner chooses to upgrade or sell. If a larger aircraft is acquired new, and sold between the average six to eight-year mark, this could place the jet slightly past the warranty and before heavy maintenance overhauls, like a D-Check. A D-Check is a costly and lengthy inspection that requires a detailed and complete review of every fastener, nut, and bolt. For an older aircraft, scrapping the jet for its components is sometimes more cost-effective than the process of a comprehensive overhaul. Working with a director of maintenance, aircraft manager, and trusted team of maintenance professionals is the best course of action to maximize efficiency, manage costs, and alleviate unnecessary inconveniences.
Intensive maintenance inspections are often blocked together as “batched” tasks— maximizing both efficiency and safety. For added efficiency, Clay Lacy operates a certified maintenance center at Van Nuys Airport, Boeing Field and McClellan-Palomar Airport; and offers jet owners priority access, to the extensive charter fleet, when their personal aircraft is down for maintenance. This added benefit allows clients to maintain their travel schedules and appointments without interruption or delay.
During a private jet’s lifetime, the aircraft will experience maintenance events that range from light checks to thorough overhauls. By working with a certified aircraft sales associate, consulting with an aircraft manager and experienced maintenance department— jet owners can be confident that they will experience the highest levels of safety, service, and value.
With a dedicated facility, highly experienced technicians, and strong vendor relationships, Clay Lacy’s maintenance team prioritizes every aspect of aircraft maintenance. Contact a maintenance professional today!