Aircraft on Ground: Exploring the causes of this logistical challenge

This article was originally published July 16 2020 on our previous website, and has since been moved here.

For those of us who drive, we’ve all had the occasional puncture, drained battery or engine malfunction that delayed our journey and put a dampener on our plans. These unforeseen mishaps also happen to aircraft, leading to a situation known as Aircraft on Ground or AOG for short.

Although AOGs cause delays to both an airline’s operations and importantly, to their passengers’ plans, AOG charter specialists are called upon to safely resolve AOG situations in the shortest time possible so that both the aircraft (and its passengers) can proceed with their journey.

The costs and consequences of an AOG

Indeed, there are costs and other consequences that an airline has to bear if an AOG is not resolved promptly. We discussed these in-depth in our previous article entitled “AOG Charter Recovery – How this service adds immense value to airline operators”. To recap, the delays brought about by an AOG can result in:

  • Knock-on delays
  • Airport charges for grounded aircraft
  • Passenger compensation
  • Crew overtime
  • Damage to an airline’s reputation and brand

This is why it is crucial for airline operators to partner with an AOG charter specialist who is experienced, available 24/7 and well-connected in the industry.

The common causes of an AOG

Supporting a large number of Europe’s leading airlines, the charterAOG team has assisted on a myriad of AOG situations, resolving them in the safest, quickest, most pain-free and economical way possible. Our years of experience in this niche sector have informed the below list of what we believe are the most common causes of an AOG.

Part or Component issues

Safety on board is paramount to both passengers and flight crew. Even the smallest part or component may play a fundamental role in the overall safety of the aircraft. When crew realise that something is not quite right, they have a legal and ethical obligation, with input from the airline’s technical team, to ground the plane until it is rectified. This is why these issues must be resolved before departure can take place.

Mechanical malfunctions

As discussed above, all mechanical malfunctions must be rectified prior to take-off in the interest of safety. Repairs can take anywhere from minutes to hours and can be fixed by someone on-site, typically requiring an aircraft engineer’s specialist expertise and his/her sign-off.

Unplanned crew shortages

Every airline establishes a minimum number of cabin crew personnel that have to be on board each flight to ensure passenger and operational safety. Despite this, crew members sometimes become incapacitated or exceed their duty hours due to technical delays or force majeure events such as ATC strikes or adverse weather. These unforeseen circumstances lead to either a shortage of manpower on board or a crew that can’t continue its duty as it has exceeded its duty hour threshold.

In response to the above scenarios, an airline’s first port of call for a replacement would be its standby crew. In the absence of in-house standby crew, replacement crew can be contracted from an external crew database.

The role of the AOG Charter Specialist

AOG Charter Specialists, like charterAOG, are available 24/7/365 to take your call when any type of AOG situation occurs. Whatever the reason is behind your particular AOG crisis, we are committed to reducing the aircraft’s time on ground. We evaluate your current circumstances and draw up a feasible, effective, and cost-efficient response plan.

Resolution examples

Our years of experience have taught us that no two AOG situations are alike. That’s why every solution is tailor-made to resolve your AOG crisis. The below are some examples of how charterAOG tackles some of the more common cases of an AOG.

Part or Component issues

Once your required part or component has been located, charterAOG handles the logistics of delivering the part to wherever the aircraft is grounded in the shortest time possible. Sometimes this means putting the part on a passenger aircraft such as an executive jet or small turboprop if it presents the most effective solution.

Mechanical malfunctions

Mechanical difficulties may require a licensed aircraft engineer’s sign-off as well as the replacement component. In the past we’ve tackled such situations by either dispatching the component and the engineer on board the same cargo plane or on two separate aircraft. Together with our client, we choose the solution that will resolve the AOG in the swiftest time possible.

Unplanned crew shortages

With access to over 23,000 aircraft, we can source appropriate aircraft to bring replacement or standby crew to the stranded aircraft’s location. We also offer this service for crew members who are finding difficulties reaching their points of departure due to the flight and route disruptions brought about by COVID-19.

About charterAOG

charterAOG is an experienced and trusted air charter specialist that focuses solely on resolving AOG situations in the shortest time possible. Our years of experience in this niche sector, coupled with our 24/7/365 availability and our access to over 23,000 aircraft worldwide, have made charterAOG a go-to partner for some of the world’s leading airlines.

Once we receive a call for assistance, your AOG crisis becomes our top priority. Our sole aim is to resolve your AOG situation as soon as possible with a competitive, fast and innovative solution.

We speak your language. Talk to us today to discover how we can work together to add value to your operation.