Career Development

What Does an Aircraft Maintenance Planner Do?

Find out what an Aircraft Maintenance Planner does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as an Aircraft Maintenance Planner.

The Aircraft Maintenance Planner plays an essential role in the aviation industry, focusing on the organization and coordination of maintenance activities for aircraft. This position ensures that all maintenance operations are scheduled efficiently, adhering to strict safety and regulatory standards while minimizing aircraft downtime. By balancing the demands of operational availability with the necessity for thorough, compliant maintenance work, the planner ensures that aircraft are safe, reliable, and ready to meet the operational requirements of airlines or other aircraft operators. Through meticulous planning and coordination with maintenance teams, parts suppliers, and regulatory bodies, the Aircraft Maintenance Planner supports the seamless operation of the aviation sector, contributing to the overall safety and efficiency of air travel.

Aircraft Maintenance Planner Job Duties

  • Develop and implement detailed maintenance plans for each aircraft in the fleet, ensuring compliance with all regulatory and safety requirements.
  • Coordinate scheduling of maintenance activities with flight operations to minimize impact on flight schedules and aircraft availability.
  • Analyze aircraft maintenance history and performance data to predict future maintenance needs and plan accordingly.
  • Liaise with engineering and maintenance teams to identify necessary parts, tools, and equipment for scheduled maintenance tasks.
  • Prepare and manage the budget for maintenance operations, including forecasting costs for parts, labor, and downtime.
  • Oversee the documentation of all maintenance activities, ensuring accurate records are kept for regulatory compliance and historical analysis.
  • Facilitate communication between maintenance teams, flight crews, and management to ensure all parties are informed of maintenance schedules, changes, and aircraft status.
  • Evaluate and implement new maintenance technologies and processes to improve efficiency and reduce costs without compromising safety or compliance.

Aircraft Maintenance Planner Salary & Outlook

Factors influencing an Aircraft Maintenance Planner’s salary include years of experience, specific expertise in aircraft types, size of the employing company, and the complexity of the fleet being managed. Additionally, roles requiring advanced technological proficiency or oversight of large, diverse teams may command higher compensation.

  • Median Annual Salary: $76,125 ($36.6/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $112,550 ($54.11/hour)

The employment of aircraft maintenance planners is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increasing air travel demand, the need for regular maintenance of expanding aircraft fleets, and the introduction of new, technologically advanced airplanes requiring specialized planning for upkeep, ensuring safety and compliance with aviation regulations.

Aircraft Maintenance Planner Job Requirements

Education: Aircraft Maintenance Planner positions often require a high school diploma as a foundation, with a significant number of individuals enhancing their qualifications through some college courses. Post-secondary certificates in fields related to aviation, aerospace technology, or aircraft maintenance can provide a competitive edge. Majors or coursework in logistics, engineering, aviation management, or similar areas are beneficial, equipping candidates with the necessary technical knowledge and skills for effective planning and coordination in aircraft maintenance operations.

Experience: Aircraft Maintenance Planners typically come from backgrounds rich in hands-on experience within the aviation maintenance sector. They often have progressed through roles that provided deep insights into aircraft systems, maintenance protocols, and operational workflows. On-the-job training plays a crucial role, complemented by structured training programs that hone skills in planning, logistics, and regulatory compliance. Successful planners have a blend of practical maintenance experience and the ability to coordinate complex schedules, ensuring aircraft safety and efficiency.

Certifications & Licenses: No specific certifications or licenses are typically required for the job of Aircraft Maintenance Planner.

Aircraft Maintenance Planner Skills

Regulatory Compliance: Adherence to the most current aviation laws and standards set by bodies like the FAA or EASA is mandatory. Maintenance plans must be regularly updated to reflect legislative changes, ensuring aircraft safety and compliance.

Maintenance Scheduling: Coordinating the timing and resources for inspections, repairs, and overhauls is critical. A deep understanding of aviation regulations and fleet operational demands helps keep aircraft in optimal condition, balancing safety and performance against downtime and operational disruptions.

Resource Allocation: Distributing manpower, tools, and materials effectively minimizes aircraft downtime and maintains safety standards. Prioritizing work orders requires a careful balance between rapid turnaround needs and the availability of resources, all while adhering to regulatory compliance.

Technical Documentation: Creating detailed maintenance manuals and repair guides is essential. This involves translating complex technical specifications and procedures into clear, accessible documentation, enabling technicians to perform tasks efficiently and safely.

Risk Management: Identifying and mitigating potential hazards in maintenance schedules and operations is crucial for the safety and reliability of flight operations. A thorough evaluation of maintenance activities helps preempt risks that could affect aircraft performance or cause delays.

Cost Estimation: Predicting the financial resources needed for maintenance tasks enables effective budget allocation and operational continuity. A comprehensive understanding of aircraft systems, maintenance procedures, and the costs of materials and labor ensures that maintenance is both cost-effective and aligned with safety standards.

Aircraft Maintenance Planner Work Environment

Aircraft Maintenance Planners often find themselves in a dynamic environment where the blend of office settings and hangar or airfield locations forms their daily backdrop. Their workspace is equipped with computers and specialized software for scheduling maintenance, alongside traditional tools for hands-on assessments when necessary.

The nature of the aviation industry dictates irregular work hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays, to ensure aircraft readiness and safety. Dress codes vary, combining office attire with safety gear when moving to hangars or airfields.

The role demands a high level of interaction with maintenance teams, engineers, and regulatory bodies, fostering a collaborative culture focused on precision and compliance. Noise levels can fluctuate significantly, from the quiet of an office to the bustling sounds of aircraft operations.

Adherence to strict health and safety protocols is paramount, given the potential risks associated with aviation maintenance. Technology plays a crucial role, requiring continuous learning to stay abreast of advancements in aircraft systems and maintenance procedures. Despite the demanding pace, the structure within aviation organizations often supports a clear path for professional development.

Advancement Prospects

Aircraft Maintenance Planners can ascend to senior planning roles, overseeing larger fleets and more complex maintenance schedules. Mastery in planning and execution opens doors to managerial positions within maintenance operations, where strategic oversight and team leadership become key responsibilities.

Progressing further, opportunities in project management or becoming a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Manager are viable. These roles demand a deep understanding of aircraft systems, regulatory compliance, and cost management, focusing on optimizing maintenance processes and enhancing operational efficiency.

To achieve these advancements, gaining experience in various aircraft types and maintenance environments is crucial. Specializing in predictive maintenance strategies and embracing technological advancements in maintenance planning tools can also set a candidate apart, highlighting their capability to innovate and improve maintenance workflows.


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