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Congrats To Bacx Elt Top Management

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Congrats To Bacx Elt Top Management

Old 1st May 2003, 02:00
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Congrats To Bacx Elt Top Management


It is said, and it is believed, that British civil aircraft maintenance is the best in the world. We are ahead of North America and Canada, and we are marginally ahead of the Germans and the French. Therefore in a small aircraft industry, in a small country like the UK, it is not terribly difficult to track down who is the best maintenance facility in the best company. British Airways usually set the pace and are reckoned to be ‘The World’s Favourite’. Whilst the BA engineers are super blokes, they are saddled to a lumbering dinosaur that has consistently proved that it cannot readily adapt quickly and efficiently to new methods and procedures. Have a look at the thickness of BA’s procedures manuals, the depth of the maze of its web pages. How do you know how to find things? Read the disgruntled BA’s employers questions in the BA News. BA has also demonstrated consistently over many years that it cannot run regional routes because the routes are too flexible!
The best maintenance facilities were therefore facilities that embraced the best of BA requirements but were free from BA constraints. This then has to be BRAL and Manx Airlines. I have discounted Loganair because a number of their line practices were inconsistent (I’m being generous!) and I have discounted Brymon because their top level management consistently would not close off quality assurance non-conformances. As BRAL and Manx were the same companies, it was well known that the Glasgow maintenance base was much more efficient than its lumbering and over-manned counterpart on the rock. On that basis, the BRAL Glasgow Maintenance Hangar was probably the best in the world. This belief is supported by views expressed by various maintenance contractors, and even CAA surveyors, who have all ‘been about.’ In the 4 years that the Glasgow hangar maintained the J41s and the Emb145s, there were no major incidents, no compromises of safety or standards, and no aircraft went out late without a credible reason. Aircrews and line engineers regularly reported that the aircraft went out with fewer line problems and ADDs. Overtime required and absentee rates were minimal. Theft was almost unheard of. These are all facts. The workforce at Glasgow was an extended family. I am proud and privileged to have served there.
Then it all went wrong. 18 months ago BA bought over Manx/BRAL, forced a merge with Brymon and called the new entity BACitiExpress (they couldn’t even spell ‘City’ and are currently in dispute with a financial institute mmmmm). BA asset stripped the new entity (Heathrow slots) and having got what they set out for, then stepped back to allow it to flounder under an arrogant mis-management who were out of their depth and lumbered to the dinosaur. Last August, Bristol base maintenance closed. Today, the Glasgow Hangar has closed all scheduled base maintenance. 50 outstanding engineers have been lost with only 16 being absorbed within the BA group or re-located. No surprise to mention that the closure has been fraught with broken promises and continuous botch-ups from the management level at head office on the IOM, above the Glasgow management team.
As there were always a number of credible alternatives, which included maintaining ATPs, Dash 8s and possibly even RJs at Glasgow, which are all currently maintained externally, a word of outstanding congratulations must now be offered to Someone ˝Witt. What he has done is quite an achievement – he has closed down an outstanding world-class facility when 48% of the fleet is now maintained – without regular management – by 3rd party contractors.
He, and Mr Magoo, are disgraced, despised, disloyal, dysfunctional and discredited. To say such action was short-sighted is an understatement. What they have done is loss to society, immoral, unjust and by the inept way that they have handled it, possibly criminal. In 2 years time, when BA inevitably winds down base maintenance on The Rock, I hope that our small industry remembers ˝Witt and Mr Magoo – incompetent demolition merchants - and holds them to account.

The hangar has closed and the men and aircraft have gone. But the show aint over till the fat lady sings. Watch this space.
Dai Rear is offline  
Old 2nd May 2003, 16:39
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It's hard to find someone to blame when a close knit team such as yourself suffers at the hand of the 'Looks good on paper' project managers in Waterside.
They are paid to be impersonal and ruthless, by way of Performance Related Pay. BA is beset with Conflicting Short Term Business Plans that rarely recognise the intangible asset that is employee loyalty. Your success and productivity as an engineering base is paradoxical; If your team had a poor punctuality record or an above average incident tally due to technical reasons, I'm sure a posse of LHR Engineering Auditors would have winged their way up on the next shuttle and found ways of ensuring that their positions were 'justified' for the next couple of years, so they could turn the 'problem round'. Instead, the whiff of short termism has permeated the nostrils of BACE senior managers to your detriment.

Good Luck in your new career elsewhere.
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Old 3rd May 2003, 00:29
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Grim news indeed.

Another triumph of British Management. If only we could un-invent the idea that 'Management' is a skill that can be operated irrespective of the field of operations.

I have been in commerce for 23 years in retail, local govt, banking, transport, oil, pharmaceuticals and many others. This is the same story.

The greatest saddness is that - it is not just BA that is able to cripple a company. It is not just BA that disconnect themselves from the realities of the shop floor. We saw this in steel earlier this week. Corus mgmt taking bonus' and laying people off.
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Old 3rd May 2003, 02:28
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Well said Paxboy the UK PLC is littered with a long list of poor performance by various management groups. I am not so sure about the asset stripping either, 8 LHR slots from Manx amounts to very little. It has been said before but in the last two years one of the greatest banana skins for us all has been the rise of the low cost whether internal UK / Europe. Whatever' you cannot compete with 737's by using EMB145's and RJ's on many of the key regional routes and whoever you wish to blame key decisions needed to have been made and planned over two years ago not two months ago.

The usual carrot '10% cost saving cutbacks etc' will make little difference sadly and unless the industry turns around within the next 6 - 8 months there will be a lot more blood letting.

I hope we all live through it. BAA have said today that pax numbers in the SE will double by 2010, optimist if nothing else.
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