The Boeing Company today launched a new program to provide insulation blanket replacement kits to its customer airlines. The program is part of an ongoing effort to introduce economical support products and services to the jetliner aftermarket.
Alaska Airlines is the first customer to sign up for the program, which is designed to help carriers perform an important maintenance task on a planned basis rather than waiting until an airplane is undergoing maintenance to determine material requirements.
The program is available for all Boeing- and Douglas-built commercial airplane models. Alaska will initially focus the program on its 737 fleet.
Insulation blankets line the interiors of airplane fuselages to provide protection from temperature extremes and noise. Because insulating qualities of the material may decline over time, some of the blankets are replaced during heavy maintenance checks. This time-consuming and labor-intensive effort requires removing and inspecting the blankets, making repairs or ordering replacements and then reinstalling the blankets.
Under the new program, Boeing engineers work with the customer to analyze blanket specifications and replacement experience on each type of airplane. Based on this data, the Boeing/customer team divides the jetliner into zones. Each zone is then subdivided into kits comprising five to 35 blankets each.
Customers can place advance orders for any combination of kits they anticipate will be needed for a scheduled maintenance check. The kits arrive as just-in-time shipments and are bundled in the appropriate installation sequence. Installation drawings are included, and each kit is fully warranted and FAA certified. The same supplier of the blankets installed in new Boeing jetliners produces the replacement kits.
"Rather than inspect and replace blankets on a piecemeal basis, customers can save time and money by ordering our replacement kits," said Darce Lamb, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group vice president - Airline Logistics Support. "We offer a competitive price, and customers benefit from reduced down time because they won't need to inspect or repair the old blankets."
The Airline Logistics Support organization oversees the aviation industry's largest spare parts sales, service and distribution network. The unit recently introduced a replacement floor panel program as another initiative to expand aftermarket spares support to the world's airlines.