What Does AOG Mean – The Causes and Costs of a Grounded Aircraft

Commercial Airplane on Runway

AOG is an aviation term meaning Aircraft on Ground. When an aircraft is in need of immediate AOG services, this means that the plane has been grounded and is unable to reenter rotation until it is approved for flight. While AOG can be caused by a myriad of reasons, including flight scheduling conflicts or weather, sometimes in-service planes can also be grounded for mechanical reasons. When this is the case, commercial aircraft cannot return to service until they’re repaired, inspected and approved. Everyone across the aviation industry will agree, getting a plane the proper service to get off the ground and back in the air is a top priority.

Reasons for Grounding

The FAA requires routine A and B aircraft inspections, completed every 400–600 hours and 6–8 months, respectively. If an aircraft fails to pass one of these inspections, it is immediately grounded. Typically reasons behind failures are less than alarming (they may be caused by something as small as a malfunctioning sensor), but being unprepared for potential disruptions can cause the need for immediate AOG services. Think of how many thousands of small parts make up just one plane, if a single one of those parts falter in any way it can ground the plane indefinitely. As Aviation Week illustrated in its retelling of a delayed wide-body plane at JFK airport, days-long delays were caused by the need for service on a minor part replacement in the aircraft cockpit. Unfortunately, the airline’s MRO did not have the part on hand to service the aircraft, leading to an overnight stay for disgruntled passengers and high costs for the airline.

When aircraft are awaiting simple parts, those parts must be driven, flown, sailed, and even hand-carried to the aircraft in the most efficient pattern to minimize time on the ground. AOG services require time-mapping, landscape and navigational prowess, and systematic operations. With additive manufacturing on the horizon for the aviation industry, waiting time for parts may be shortened or almost removed, but for now, the preparation of AOG services is vital for airline success.

The Financial Cost of AOG

A grounded aircraft not only causes a huge inconvenience to passengers, it can also be a big financial burden on airlines. Among other things, there are storage fees, the cost of expedited parts, and hotel or flight vouchers for passengers stranded from a delayed or cancelled flight. In a 2010 study conducted by the FAA and the National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research, or NEXTOR, flight delays in 2007 were estimated to cost airlines roughly $31 billion. Part of this figure is the high purchasing and leasing cost of planes. When a flight is delayed or grounded for long periods of time airlines cannot recoup costs through ticket sales. This problem is so large and widespread, insurance options have been created specifically for airlines to help recover costs from AOG situations.

But airlines are not the only ones affected. Along with passengers, flights carry precious cargo and shipments across the world everyday. Our mail system relies on planes traveling when they are scheduled. With shipping times being promised at just a few days, delayed flights can result in consumers receiving delayed products and businesses gaining unhappy consumers. While not the businesses fault, consumers will look to them with irritated expectations and lessened trust. Whether or not you regularly fly, the aviation industry still impacts you.

Proponent AOG Services

No one in the business of aviation likes an aircraft on the ground when it should be in the air. From a financial burden on the airline to inconveniencing the customer, it’s a situation everyone wants to avoid. Proponent, formerly known as Kapco Global, understands that time is of the essence when there’s an aircraft out of commission. Because of this, we offer AOG priority service 24 hours a day, every single day of the year. Our priority services include a guaranteed inquiry response within 30 minutes of contact, as well as a maximum 4-hour turnaround time on order fulfillment and shipment of available parts, with an actual average turnaround time of only 2 hours. We want to put you back in the sky as quickly as possible.

Because of the burden AOG can put on all players involved, Proponent priority services is ready to act as the only crisis management tool needed in those crucial hours. With expertise in purchasing, shipping, manufacturing, hazards, and crisis management, we serve AOG situations in an economical and dynamic way to ensure the best course of action is taken. To learn more, visit our AOG Services page.

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