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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Comparing Aircraft Maintenance Quotes: Avoiding Sticker Shock

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 07:00 AM

When it comes to comparing aircraft maintenance quotes, you should be more concerned about what is not listed than what is.

DSC_3544_blogWhen comparing maintenance quotes from different MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) facilities, there are a staggering number of variables to consider. It is always unwise to assume the final number on each proposal represents the same level of detail. You should always be asking, ‘What does the quote include?’

To help make this process easier, we have compiled a list of questions and discussion points to help you get the details behind the numbers. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a great place to begin.

Here are some things to begin the proposal conversation with your sales rep.

Airframe

  • Is the interior R&R included? This is often required to gain access below the cabin floor.
  • What about paint touch-up? And if so, is touch-up completed by spray or brush?
  • Are there state taxes on parts and labor? Consumables and freight charges? Are they included?
  • Are support services like NDT, machining services, hydrostatic testing, included?
  • Is tool rental included or an additional charge?

Avionics

  • Are engineering fees included?
  • Are any additional mods required to complete the workscope, like relocating antennae?
  • Does the proposal include just the baseline package or does it outline optional features of the system being installed?
  • Is the MRO including other recommended options based on feedback from other operators who have installed the system?

Paint

DUNCAN-AV-BCMI-0756CBlogThe number of variables that impact a quote for paint and interior completions work is nearly inexhaustible.

  • In addition to the base paint quote, does the proposal include painting the entry air stair?
  • Does that include replacing the step tread or masking around it?
  • How many stripes and stripe colors are included?
  • Are metallic stripes an up-charge?
  • Is there design support if the paint scheme is changing?
  • What are the options if you request a custom or second base color, wing color, tail color, or logo?
  • Is painting of the wheels and landing gear included?
  • What is the warranty?

Interior

Aircraft interiors is an area where it can be difficult to gauge the extra effort and care that might go into the project but that isn’t clearly represented by a number. Clarify if your interior proposal includes:

  • Is the foam replaced during the seat upholstery or just the dress covers?
  • What type of material is being quoted for upholstery of the divan, leather or fabric?
  • Is rewebbing of the seatbelts included in the upholstery of the seats and divan?
  • If it is a partial interior, and the leather color is changing, are all the leather items quoted for recovery (curtains, entry door shrouds, lavatory seat, etc.)?
  • Is the carpet being replaced hand-made or machine-made? Is the carpet pad being replaced and if so, is the new pad being installed equivalent to the existing pad or does it provide additional thermal or acoustical qualities?

Engine

5E7A9921-2_-blogAlways provide your logbooks up front. Doing so will get you an accurate quote on Service Bulletins, life-limited component replacements, and required Airworthiness Directives.

For non-program engines determine what level of service is being quoting. If only quoted the lowest minimums available for the engine, you can bet you will end up paying more in the end. Always ask the MRO to be up front about the expected expenses and the parts and other components that typically need replacement.

In addition to the base engine overhaul price, ask if the quote includes:

  • Service Bulletin status
  • Life-limited component replacement
  • Airworthiness Directives
  • Shipping charges
  • Discrepancies

Landing Gear

1Q2A0646_blogLanding gear quotes can be offered in a variety of pricing structures. NTE (Not To Exceed) is the most popular and the structure used most often at Duncan Aviation. With NTE, you are provided with the maximum quote and an assurance your final bill will not exceed that quote. Often, the final bill is under the NTE price.

Other options are Firm Fixed and Standard. With Firm Fixed, you are provided with the final bill before your gear arrives. It comes with a no bill-back guarantee, regardless of the condition of the gear. Standard Pricing includes all labor required to perform the normal inspection or overhaul and required parts. Any discrepancies found during the inspection that require additional parts and labor will be quoted over and above.

Whichever pricing structure you select, pay close attention to the exclusions on the contract. They can add extensive additional costs not included in the quote. These include additional customer requests, optional Service Bulletins, missing or abused parts, replacement of life-limited parts, and engineering fees, if required.

When reviewing your landing gear proposal, ask the following:

  • Does it include shipping costs for outsourced components?
  • Are parts or other special programs included in the pricing?
  • What are the contract exclusions?
  • What parts are considered over and above?
  • Are discrepancy and repair costs included in the labor flat rate?

You Play A Part

Evaluating the many quotes an operator receives in the course of preparing for an aircraft service event can be an overwhelming experience.

Ultimately, the success and satisfaction of a maintenance event is a team effort. You are as much a part of the team and its success as we are.

Bottom line…call and allow us the opportunity to walk you through the quote so you can better understand the proposal details as well as the ultimate workscope.

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Maintenance Event Planning, Engine Maintenance, Avionics Installation, Landing Gear, Aircraft Paint, Interior Refurbishment

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