More Than Maintenance
Delta Air Lines GSE Maintenance group is involved with a lot more than just equipment maintenance, writes Michelle Garetson
By Michelle Garetson/p>
By Michelle Garetson
Same old, same old is not something that would apply to the Delta Air Lines' GSE Maintenance group at the airline's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. In a recent interview with Neil Wright, General Manager - GSE Maintenance for Delta, Wright explains that his employees are involved with more than just maintenance.
SIZE AND SCOPE
The main GSE Maintenance hangar provides 17 bays and that personnel can enter and exit from either side of the building for GSE equipment. Also within the building are 3 bays for paint, a body shop, a radiator shop, a component shop, a transmission shop, 3-bay weld shop, and a wash bay. The outlying line maintenance and stationary maintenance facilities at the airport each have 6 to 7 bays.
In Atlanta, Delta has 108 GSE maintenance employees in the main building with 7 lead mechanics. The ramp has 78 employees with 8 leads. In the main shop, there are 2 Hub Managers. Hub Managers are responsible for budget, performance metrics — "pretty much for the total operation for that location," says Wright. "Leads are responsible for ensuring that the work is scheduled and done correctly and making sure that technicians are up on their training."
"All our GMTs go through recurrent training on safety, HAZMAT, and we've started human factors training. A human factors training program has been developed for all of technical operations that we're sending all of our people through. Supervision is also attending these courses."
Delta offers its maintenance technicians assistance to obtain ASE training and certification. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, there is a test for certification and this certification is good for five years. 'Delta U.' pays for the books and pays for a one-time testing. Any subsequent testing is up to the individual. GMTs' with five ASE certifications are afforded a license premium.
"The whole operation is going through a corporate initiative "Our Airline, Our Business" to get technicians more indoctrinated with the business side of Delta Airlines — how we look at the profits, the financial sheets, and they actually play a game where they are running the airline," explains Wright. "They have to make decisions to make a profit. Get them involved to invest in 'ownership' of the company and understand why we do the things we do."
Wright says that Tech Ops started about 4 to 5 years ago to get the technicians involved in the "local issues" to discuss budgets, safety issues, what's going on with their local shop. It gives employees ownership to help them with business decisions to reduce overtime, what to insource, whether or not to buy tools, increase capacity to bring in more insourcing.
"Each shift has a team — High Performance Work Team (HPWT), explains Wright, "and in that work team you'd have Star Points — a Finance Star Point, Safety Star Point, and others, and these people bring talking points to the table to get things rolling."
Wright says there are 19,131 pieces system-wide for Delta and of that total, 6,103 are motorized. The remainder is stationary (passenger loading bridges) and not-motorized, items (bag carts, transporters, and towbars). Of the 6,533 total pieces of GSE at the Atlanta facility, 2,039 pieces are motorized. He happily offers that their in-service rate is 98.5 percent on all pieces, availability is 97 percent, and PMI (Preventative Maintenance Inspection) completion rate is 100 percent.