A major concern of airlines in today’s competitive business environment is lowering their aircraft related operating costs. These costs directly affect an airline’s cash flow and, ultimately, its financial health. A sizeable part of operating costs is related to aircraft maintenance. The actual percentage of operating costs will vary depending on operating factors, which will influence the maintenance strategy employed.
Maintenance budgets for large carriers can rise to €1bn and above, accounting for at least 20% of the direct operating costs. It has also been estimated that human error in maintenance activities contributes up to 15% of all aircraft accidents.
The current philosophy of damage-tolerant design requires that a structure is capable of sustaining small damage without failure and that a non-destructive inspection program is instituted to detect such flaws before they grow to critical size.
It is expected that the results obtained from the development of CORSAIR will lead to increase the time between two inspections for the assessment of the criticality of the defects. At the same time, the development of new and better performing coatings will also contribute the expanded lifetime of components.