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A380 Airbus in service

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Some startling facts and figures were provided, not least of which was that each aircraft costs 350m, stands some 80ft tall, covers 80m2 on the ground, at 86Db is half the noise of a Boeing 747-400 and based on a passenger occupancy of 555 delivers 80mpg per passenger!

John presented an interesting view on Programme Management and Change Management, not only in the concept and manufacture stages but also referring to the In Service stage reinforcing the fact that Project Management is required through the whole life. On such a large project, the development phase started some 25 years previously in the mid eighties and necessitated the creation of a new methodology. There were particular challenges, such as how to maintain configuration control when assessing options for the aircraft design. To ensure consistency throughout aircraft delivery and ongoing support, there are approximately 300 development tasks at any time managed by 8 Project Management Offices and 3 Key workstreams (Landing, Fuel and Wiring). The PMO staff consists of approximately 10% of the staff of the total number of engineers on the project. To knit all of this together there is a stringent Request For Work and Modification process that is reflected in a 13 lane swim lane chart ! To enable the very large team to work more effectively and efficiently, staff that need to work together are physically located together, learning from experience is not only recorded but actively shared and used, and recognition that project management is a fundamental skill within the team.

Overall the project is considered a success, having delivered a fantastic product which the aircraft operators, pilots and passengers all love.

Success of course is dependant upon what your view as a stakeholder to the project; some of the successes noted include the A380 being run consistently at 90% capacity, Air France estimate that use of the A380 will save 12-15M Euros, and some 25 to 50 % of the aircraft value is manufactured in the UK, if the engines are included, and whilst the construction of the aircraft is across various locations in UK/Europe there is only a 2-3% cost overhead.

As part the continuous improvement programme and change management of the aircraft, Airbus has established a facility called AIRTAC (AIRcraft Technical Aircraft on ground Centre) which provides real time 24/7 flight support. It is through this facility that the components of the aircraft are monitored and items operating outside of their tolerances are identified and reported to the operators and repairs resolved. This not only solves the immediate issues identified, but also builds customer relationships and confidence in the product whilst also enabling Airbus components to be improved with real customer input. Ensuring that not only is Airbus a success now but in the future too!

Colin Ware

Joint Chair, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset Chapter


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