Chicago (ORD) is a major hub for Envoy – the largest operation in the Envoy system. Supporting the operation is a team of line and base maintenance professionals, who keep everything moving and work to address issues as they arise.
“I’ve been here since ’89, and every day is different,” said Maintenance Crew Chief Bart Wisz. “Gate calls could be something as simple as a lightbulb change to something more time consuming, like troubleshooting a fault. On an average day, we probably have about 60 calls for issues big and small. As long as you can keep looking forward and anticipate the next issue, your day runs a lot smoother.”
“Crew Chiefs like Bart are the masterminds of the line maintenance operation,” added Quality Control Specialist Vasin Settachan. “Things are dynamic and can change quickly. Line maintenance is about knowing where to put people to leverage their skills and specialties to get our planes off the line and out on time, while keeping an eye on what might be up next. A good line maintenance base runs like a fire department – sometimes there’s waiting around but when it’s busy, everyone knows what they need to do to get the job done.”
While line maintenance is working to respond to issues and get planes moving, the Chicago operations tower is busy working to keep the operation flowing. “We’re like a giant switchboard,” saidOperations Supervisor Jeanette Jager. “We coordinate with SOC [System Operations Control] and Maintenance to keep our inbound and outbound flights organized. Will a delay push our schedule out? If an ATC [Air Traffic Control] program goes into effect at another airport, do we have to give flights heading that direction more time on the gate?”
Once the majority of the day’s flights have departed, several planes – typically Embraer 140/145 or Canadair CRJ-700 – remain overnight (RON) at the Envoy maintenance hangar for inspections and scheduled maintenance.
“The Chicago hangar is a unique challenge in terms of space – it’s an older facility and how we bring planes into the hangar depends on what we already have inside,” said Maintenance Crew Chief Brian Toma. “Once the planes are in, we inspect and repair, and work on what we have scheduled. One of the toughest parts of the job is knowing which component is likely to need replacing soon, and what you can do to keep the plane safe and operational.”
“The Chicago Maintenance team plays a major part in the hub’s success,” said Vice President, Maintenance Jay Murray. “Their hard work and dedication – day and night, through rain, shine, sleet and snow – keeps our planes running safe and helps resolve issues as they arise on the line. They’re doing a great job in a very important market for us. Keep up the good work!”