On Monday, Airbus announced a new contract with Japan Airlines for its Flight Hour Services (FHS) program. The announcement comes only three days after Airbus announced that the first JAL A350-900 has begun final assembly at their Toulouse factory. That aircraft is scheduled for delivery later this year.
Airbus offers two different FHS packages: Flight Hour Services-Components (FHS-C) and Flight Hour Services – Tailored Support Package (FHS-TSP). FHS-C provides operators with access to an exclusive spare parts inventory as well as access to six global spare pools. Airbus currently maintains global spares pools at six locations worldwide: Miami, Sao Paulo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Hong-Kong. FHS-TSP is the more robust of the FHS offerings and has options including engineering services and airframe maintenance in addition to the FHS-C package.
JAL’s contract is for the FHS-C package and will support what will eventually be a fleet of 31 A350-900 and A350-1000. JAL ordered 18 A350-900’s and 13 of the larger A350-1000 variant back in 2013. According to Airbus, JAL will initially operate the A350 on select domestic routes and then transition to operating the aircraft on international routes.
With JAL getting ready to take on such a large fleet of A350s, it is no surprise that they opted to participate in the FHS program. The move will surely allow the carrier to maintain and operate its A350 fleet in a more efficient manner. With airlines operating aircraft that are increasingly more reliable and increasingly more technologically complex, spare parts simply are not needed as often. By participating in a global spares pool like the one offered by FHS, airlines can avoid the expense of keeping spare parts lingering in stock and the logistical hassles of making sure they are in the right locations.
JAL is not alone in signing up for the Airbus FHS program. The program currently has 26 customers worldwide and more than 650 aircraft contracted. As more and more A350s take to the skies, those numbers will undoubtedly increase as carriers look to support their fleets in the most efficient manner possible.
Jordan focuses his writing on innovations in commercial aviation, aviation history, and other interesting topics he feels are worthy of discussion in the community.