Airbus A320 Family is to benefit from lower maintenance costs following an increase in the intervals between scheduled maintenance tasks, which has just been approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada.

All airliners undergo maintenance at regular intervals - from simple daily checks of items such as engine oil-level, up to heavy maintenance checks in which much of the aircraft structure is disassembled and visually checked. The intervals at which such maintenance must be carried out are specified by the aircraft manufacturer, and are typically based on calendar time, flights, flight hours or some combination of these.

The latest approvals for the A320 Family mean that the time between A-checks will increase from 500 to 600 hours, that C-checks will go from every 15 months to every 20 months or 6,000 flight hours. In addition, the five-year heavy-maintenance check interval can be extended to six years, and the ten-year heavy maintenance check to 12 years.

These improvements are the result of some two years of work involving the airworthiness authorities, airlines flying Airbus A320 Family aircraft, engine-manufacturers, major suppliers and Airbus.

As part of this improvement, the maintenance checks are now more flexibly based on flight hours and flights, giving airlines greater flexibility in planning and carrying out the various tasks.

In a further measure aimed at simplifying and reducing maintenance costs, Airbus has introduced standard maintenance-packages representing three common types of aircraft yearly utilisation. This allows airlines to chose a ready-made solution that is close to their yearly utilisations which, for an A320 Family operator, typically range from about 1,800 to over 3,500 flight hours a year.

“Our new maintenance intervals are a good example of the way in which Airbus is helping airlines to get the best out of their aircraft while reducing costs, as well as being the result of the partnerships that we enjoy with our customers,” says Patrick Gavin, Airbus Executive Vice President Customer Services.

Airbus’ modern aircraft family is designed for reliability, as well as easy and cost-effective maintenance, with built-in features such as easy access and comprehensive trouble-shooting. It is supported by a network of spares, training and field service teams around the world.

More than 2,200 Airbus A320 Family aircraft are in service with some 145 customers and operators worldwide.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.