The engineering and maintenance department of an airline ensures the availability of safe and airworthy aircraft in time, at an optimum cost. It performs scheduled and un-scheduled maintenance tasks, leading to restoration of the expected airworthiness.
The opportunities in this department can be covered under two heads — aircraft maintenance and support services. Both the jobs provide opportunities to work in sophisticated aircraft systems.
In aircraft maintenance, careers can be made in line maintenance and base maintenance. The jobs involve diagnostic and mechanical duties covering repair, maintenance, overhaul, troubleshooting, in addition to performing inspection and modification on the aircraft.
The basic qualification to enter aircraft maintenance is a senior school certificate with mathematics, chemistry and physics as majors. Candidates are need to undergo a 3-year certificate course on aircraft maintenance engineering, conducted by training schools approved by the Director General of Civil Aviation.
Apart from this, candidates are required to undergo structured aircraft type courses in the mechanical or avionics stream and obtain regulatory licences or approvals on a types of aircraft. Mind you, it entails working under stringent requirements, tough deadlines and harsh weather in different locations, with possible surges in workloads.
Careers in support services are possible in technical services, engineering planning, quality assurance and logistics. For this, candidates need an engineering degree. Structured aircraft type maintenance courses, too, are desirable.
(Sreedhar is an engineering training manager at Jet Airways)