Slowdowns in Aviation Maintenance, Part 1: We’re Here to Help

In this three-part series, we take an in-depth look at an industry-wide labor shortage, how it affects our customers, and what we’re doing to keep everything moving.

Equipped To Serve Amidst Industry-wide Challenges

As an aircraft owner, you’ve likely noticed: the predicted technician shortages and supply chain challenges are here. It can be difficult to get an appointment anywhere, and delays seem to be the norm across the industry. Whatever the circumstances, we are committed to finding unique solutions and providing exceptional service.

Here’s What’s Happening

As the job market fluctuates and commercial airlines continue to grow, the aviation industry as a whole is seeing labor shortages, particularly in technicians who hold an airframe and powerplant (A&P) certification and inspection authorization (IA). A&P–IA technicians are in high demand, and shops that service small private aircraft are competing with major airlines to attract and retain enough staff.

This labor shortage has been in the making for years, and Double M Aviation has been working to meet the challenge head on. Despite our efforts, we are in a backlog with a typical delay of two weeks or more. This is happening across the industry; every maintenance provider with a good reputation is seeing delays of two weeks or longer.

Here’s What We’re Doing

The good news is that Double M Aviation is better equipped to handle this challenge than most regional shops. Although this backlog will take some time to clear, years of preparation have put us in an excellent position to serve our existing customers. Here’s what we’re doing:

Technician Airplane Maintenance

A Larger, Better-Accredited Staff

At Double M Aviation, everyone who touches your aircraft is a fully licensed A&P technician, and we have more licensed staff than most maintenance providers in our region. We currently employ ten A&P technicians. Five of them also have an IA, which means they can sign off on annual inspections. Our highly qualified staff and exceptional A&P to A&P–IA ratio mean better service for our customers compared to shops that employ only a single IA technician and a few apprentices.

Maintenance Appointment System and Reservation Fees

Anticipating a labor shortage and the resulting backlog, we implemented a reservation system earlier this year to secure and schedule our customers’ appointments. This system is helping us work through the backlog while allowing us to keep existing reservations. If you haven’t read the details of our reservation program, our reservation fee holds your appointment with us.

Although we are experiencing delays, we are not canceling any annual maintenance appointments. As we work through the backlog and continue to adapt, we expect to see improvements in delays over the next year.

Priority for Existing Customers

When we say our customers come first, we truly mean it. We have turned away new business to prioritize our existing customers. We are not doing pre-purchase inspections while we work to make sure our annual inspections go as smoothly as possible for all of our customers who have planned ahead and paid a reservation fee in advance.

Constant Communication

We’re big believers in keeping the lines of communication open. Once your aircraft is in our care, you can expect communication at least once per week (often twice). We have increased our office staff to help with communications so that you’re never in the dark about what’s going on with your aircraft. We welcome calls from customers, so feel free to check in as needed if you have questions or concerns.

Here’s What You Can Do

The most important thing you can do to secure your place in line is plan ahead. We recommend making your annual maintenance appointment at least six months in advance. We also recommend that you address squawks throughout the year whenever possible. This will reduce your downtime at your annual inspection.

It’s also important to plan for a few weeks of downtime. This is due in part to the backlog caused by the labor shortage, but there are other reasons for downtime as well. 

For example, we may discover maintenance needs that result in longer downtimes. These discoveries, however, will keep you safer and save you time in the long run. We choose not to compromise on our exceptional service despite industry pressures. 

Here’s What We’re Not Doing

Many shops are being forced to cancel scheduled annual maintenance to keep up with demand. We are not canceling any annual inspection appointments. If you’ve paid your reservation fee, we will service your aircraft as planned and as promised.

Thank You for Being a Double M Aviation Customer

We appreciate your patience as we work together to ensure your aircraft maintenance needs are met. Although the entire industry is faced with a labor shortage, we are thankful to be working with the best staff and the best customers we could ever hope for.

To schedule your annual inspection or make a maintenance appointment, fill out our reservation form or call us at 863-940-3450.

Next up: How an aging fleet contributes to the backlog and what we’re doing to help.


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