EAU Business School
Research Dissertation Proposal – Form B
Dissertation Title: Maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs at Dubai World Central
- Proposal Summary
Maintenance as well as aviation safety programs are implemented for the purpose of
encouraging maintenance station and air carrier employees to voluntarily forward reports on
errors, a practice which is fundamental in making sure there is identification of potential causes
of accidents and/or incidents. Under aviation safety programs, proactive action is taken to
resolve safety issues rather than by disciplining or punishment the concerned individuals. As a
result, these programs are aimed at enhancing aviation safety mainly by preventing incidents and
accidents both at the airport as well as air carriers by focusing on encouraging compliance to the
safety issues’ reporting voluntarily.
For instance, the introduction of Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) in the flight
domain within the aviation industry was encouraged by the hope of motivating pilots towards
disclosing their errors, and also of significance reporting the factors that may have contributed to
the errors. Thus, keeping a record of these reports may help in the implementation of systemic
solutions in order to preclude recurrence. Generally, the air carriers can significantly benefit
from their maintenance and/or safety programs, which can be essential in addressing
the identified systemic discrepancies that could have otherwise resulted to detrimental effects if
Maintenance and safety play a significant role in maintaining airline fleets throughout the
world through appropriate ASAPs. ASAPs provide a blanket term for all the services that relate
to assuring the safety and airworthy of aircraft. Ayeni et al (2011) noted that the global market
worth of the ASAPs market is $50 billion. ASAPs providers and implementers typically provide
four main capabilities: Engine, Airframe, Airport, as well as Component Services. Dubai World
Center (DWC) is located at Dubai City. The airport opened first as a cargo operations center but
later opened for passengers handling services and flights in 2013. The airport is touted as the
next world’s largest global gateway due to its capacity of more than 160 million passengers
every year. For this reason, many airlines will operate from the airport and this will necessitate
the need for maintenance and repair organization, which must be accompanied by appropriate
safety programs. Air transport, cargo operators, and airlines operate schedules that require high
utilization and serviceability levels and minimum cost. Since they have high capital and
utilization costs, they require a large amount of support by the ASAPs. The airlines operate large
fleets of aircraft, and since many of their aircraft are on the lease, they require that they have
high maintenance so that they can maximize their value in agreement with the requirements of
the lesser. This paper explores the feasibility of ASAPs in DWC.
The United Arab Emirates has four airlines operating from various countries such as the
Emirates airline & Fly Dubai operating from Dubai International Airport, Etihad operating from
Abu Dhabi International Airport as well as Air Arabia operating from Sharjah International
Airport. All of these airlines operate fleets of varied aircrafts ranging from Airbus A330 to heavy
duty and new generation Boeings B800; whereby the number of aircrafts owned by Emirates
Airline, Fly Dubai, and Etihad are 260, 49 and 122 respectively. The management of ASAPs by
these airlines is either in-house or through outsourcing. For example, Emirates and Etihad
accomplish maintenance of their fleet and management of ASAPs at their facility; whereas Air
Arabia outsources this from Joramco in Jordan, Amman. In addition, Fly Dubai outsources
aircraft maintenance and management of ASAPs from ADAT in Abu Dhabi.
- Topic Literature Review
According to Ait-Kadi et al (2009), ASAPs play a significant role in making sure that
optimal safety levels are sustained including providing maintenance that is in relation to the
process of promoting airworthiness of the airport as well as the air carriers’ condition. Also,
Easterby-Smith et al (2012) noted that ASAPs provide maintenance of damaged components of
the airport or an aircraft as a strategy to ensure they operate properly in order to improve safety.
Choules (2013) evaluated the need for ASAPs for commercial aircraft as well as large airlines
including Emirates, Fly Dubai, Etihad, and Air Arabia in order to provide them with support
throughout their operational network and found that these programs were of vital significance.
According to Jankowicz (2004), minor maintenance and safety actions may be needed at remote
destinations, even though it is more significant if they are done at the operational bases of
respective air carriers.
According to Jankowicz (2004), in his study to examine the need of ASAPs for military
aircraft operators found that operators of military aircrafts required high maintenance and safety
action service reliability and availability considering the complexity of their functions and they
are more expensive compared to other aircrafts. Furthermore, Ait-Kadi et al (2009) suggested
that unlike the airlines, small aircrafts such as helicopters which operate in a an area that is
relatively small, and cannot fly for long distances than typical airlines as well as other aircrafts
with fixed wings require less aggressive ASAPs.
The primary objectives of this study include:
I. To investigate the impacts of establishing maintenance aviation safety action programs at
Dubai World Central Airport.
II. To explore the services and functions to be offered by the maintenance aviation safety
action programs at Dubai World Central Airport.
III. To recognize key factors that will encourage global airliners to embrace the appropriate
fleet maintenance aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport.
IV. To establish the internal and external factors that impact maintenance Aviation Safety
Action Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport.
V. To establish appropriate recommendations and conclusions which identify approaches of
solving the negative impacts of these factors on maintenance Aviation Safety Action
Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport.
It is essential to determine that the maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs are an
imperative approach in the process of making sure that there is seamless running of operations at
an airport whether locally, regionally or internationally recognized, which can influence the
goals stipulated by the respective airports negatively or positively. In this case, the maintenance
Aviation Safety Action Programs can be impacted by a number of components in a work
environment due to the vital role they play in ensuring airport operations take place without
incidences or accidents that can possibly translate to significant levels of losses. The aim of this
study therefore, is to draw a focus on some of the programs established by Dubai World Central
Airport with regards to maintenance and aviation safety action. In particular, this study will make
sure that some of the variables affecting the maintenance and aviation safety action both
internally and externally are succinctly detailed.
As a result, this paper proposes establishing maintenance aviation safety action programs at
Dubai Central airport including safety equipment such as escape slide rafts and life jackets,
among others. In addition, the study will also consider the safety maintenance operations at the
aircraft structural repair workshop, brakes, and wheels overhaul workshop, engine module
replacement facility as well as Non-Destructive Test facility. Therefore, considering that Dubai
World Central Airport present operations are within a limited number of airlines, the ongoing
plans to ensure that it is converted to multi runways operation makes it essential to prioritize
maintenance and safety programs. This is attributable to the fact that, the major infrastructural
development plans envisaged to take place in the near future will require ambitious as well as
comprehensive maintenance aviation safety action programs.
- Project Outcomes
Establishing maintenance aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport
is a venture of fundamental importance not only to the airport facility, but also for the airlines
expected to be using the airport since there will close monitoring and evaluation of airport as
well as airlines activities’ safety while at the same time ensuring that maintenance of the airport
and/or airplane is progressing. This means that, maintenance and safety is an inevitable activity
program to undertake as the airlines to be served by the airport of interest continue to grow
bigger in terms of fleet strength and customer base. Thus, outsourcing maintenance activity as
well as implementation of aviation safety action programs will be beneficial because they will
play an imperative role in making sure that these airlines can invest their resources on their core
business of airline’s operations. Establishing these kind of programs can significantly help the
airlines in reducing their operational costs by ensuring that, very minimal accidents or incidents
are reported at the airports as well as the airplanes used by the airlines to transport passengers. In
addition, capital investment will be freed up by these programs since they have a potential of
reducing inventory control, upon obtaining approval from the UAE General Civil Aviation
Authority. Moreover, these maintenance aviation safety action programs ought to be
implemented in collaboration with pilots, airline operators, airline attendants, airport employees
as well as maintenance engineers.
Therefore, in order for the research aims and objectives to be achieved, the structure of
the study and analysis will follow the format shown below:
Analysis of the currently available maintenance and safety programs at the
Identification of factors necessary for the establishment of maintenance aviation
safety action programs at DWC Airport.
Explore the sustainability of MRO market at DWC.
Analyze and understand key factors that forces airlines to choose this new MRO.
Investigate factors that have potential to encourage compliance to maintenance
aviation safety action programs at DWC Airport.
- Why are you interested in the project?
The reason why am interested in this project is because, it has always been my dream to ensure
that air transportation becomes safe by significantly reducing accidents and incidents both at the
airports and airplanes through establishment of reliable and effective maintenance and aviation
safety action programs. In addition, professional curiosity that is primarily business-oriented has
also attracted by attention towards undertaking a study on this crucial topic. For instance, an
observation of the huge infrastructural investments made by airports as well as airlines
managements, I found it worthy to embark on this study to establish if maintenance and safety
action programs put in place are sufficiently enough to ensure safety of commuters, airport
infrastructure and the airplanes. The desire to evaluate if the current maintenance and safety
programs are economically viable was also another factor that motivated my interest in this
project, especially considering that airplanes which have been developed in the recent past are
technologically advanced meaning investment in their maintenance and safety resources has also
grown significantly higher. Furthermore, my thoughts and interest in this project were substantially
influenced by the training from MBA studies, which has pushed my desire to carry out an in-depth
analysis of this subject.
- What are the key questions the project attempts to answer?
I. What are the internal factors that affect maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs
(ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport?
II. What are the external factors that maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs
(ASAPs) at Dubai World Central Airport?
III. What are the approaches that can be employed in solving the internal and external
factors that affect the maintenance Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) at Dubai
World Central Airport?
- What Research Methods do you intend to use?
This project is going to be a quantitative research. According to Saunders et al (2012), an
appropriate research methodology is essential for any research process to be carried out
effectively. The project will involve an exploratory case study to explore the operations of
maintenance and safety programs at DWC Airport that are currently faced with high uncertainty
levels. In addition, limited information exists concerning the specific maintenance aviation safety
action programs adopted by various airlines as well as the additional programs that airlines ought
to adopt, particularly at the DWC Airport (Ross, 2003). The significance of exploratory case
study research in this project is that, it will play an essential role in the identification of the
salient features and factors that can potentially affect an establishment of maintenance and
aviation safety action programs at Dubai World Central Airport, as well as determining the
boundaries limiting the implementation of maintenance and safety action programs in aviation.
Easterby-Smith et al (2012) noted that, inductive research method is an approach that allows
specific observations to be made subsequent to moving them towards wider views, assumptions
as well as theories. As a result, inductive research is envisaged to result to the development of
the research hypotheses. However, analytical research in the aviation industry can play a
significant role towards helping in succinct understanding of present and future trend of
maintenance and safety action programs in the aviation industry through the meaningful insights
obtained. Various strategic and analytical management tools to be used in this study to evaluate
the phenomenon under investigation include: PESTEL, SWOT, Performance Driver analysis,
and Porter’s Five Forces analysis to investigate the strategic imperativeness, the socio-economic
conditions, restrains and drivers in the aviation industry as well as the effectiveness and
efficiency while establishing a maintenance aviation safety action programs at DWC Airport.
With an overall employee population size of 80, 000 among the four airlines from which only
5,000 are directly concerned with Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs), the latter becomes
our target population size including current administrators of maintenance aviation safety action
programs, airlines executives based at the airport, aviation consultants and regulatory body
executives, safety personnel, as well as representatives of aircraft manufacturers. Thus, the
project will involve participation of a randomly picked sample size of 100 participants from
whom primary data will be collected. Therefore, the research sample will particularly consist of
airlines executives based at the airport, aviation consultants and regulatory body executives,
safety personnel as well as representatives of aircraft manufacturers randomly selected from the
employee lists of the four airlines as the sampling frame. During this study, I plan to investigate
the airlines and airport maintenance and safety action programs as well as current and future
strategies among various airlines that are utilized by DWC Airport towards heightening safety
levels through their respective implementation plans together with the necessary operational
elements including the technical expertise, human resources, capacity and available resources.
This will be achieved by conducting specific statistical analysis using the information gathered
from research participants based on SPSS.
This means that the qualitative data required for this study will be gathered primarily from the
randomly selected research participants through a survey. As a result, survey will be conducted
through self-administered questionnaires to aide gathering information from airlines and airport
personnel based at Dubai World Central airport with regards to maintenance and safety action
programs currently in use as well as those envisaged to be implemented in future. The responses
obtained from randomly selected research participants questionnaires will then be used as the
primary data for this project. Alternatively, the secondary data will primarily be collected from
online sources and databases (Ghauri and Grønhaug, 2005). For instance, data concerning the
present maintenance and safety and the extent of action programs adopted by the airport as well as
various airlines will be established by reviewing literature from secondary sources.
- What primary and/or secondary data sources do you intend to use?
In order to ensure that the research is appropriately carried out and the findings or results are
credible and reliable, it is important to make sure that valid and unbiased sources of data are used.
As a result, in this project I am planning to use both primary and secondary sources of data.
Therefore, am planning a direct administration of questionnaires [directly as well as via e-mails] to
current administrators of maintenance aviation safety action programs, airlines executives based at
the airport, aviation consultants and regulatory body executives, safety personnel as well as
representatives of aircraft manufacturers in order to collect qualitative and quantitative data for this
study. The questionnaires with a set of questions will be forwarded to the randomly selected
participants followed by structured interviews and email follow-ups to allow collection of valid
and reliable data. Furthermore, I plan to physically visit the case study airport in order to interact
and interview maintenance and safety programs’ administrators or managers through arranged
focus group discussions so that I can get first-hand view of the subject. This will be achieved by
conducting informal interviews as well as holding discussions with relevant personnel concerning
day-to-day maintenance and safety action programs during my visit.
- Please provide draft chapter heading for your report
- Research methodology
- Literature review
- Data analysis
- List of references
Milestone Description Due date Remarks
1 Identification of the research area
2 Selection of a specific research
3 Refining the research topic to
develop dissertation proposal
4 Writing of the dissertation proposal
and submitting for approval
5 Collection of research data and
6 Processing, analysis as well as
interpretation of collected
information or data
7 Writing up the dissertation February 01,
8 Preparation of the final draft of the
dissertation and submission for
March 01, 2017
List of References
Ait-Kadi, D., Duffuaa, S.O., Knezevic, J., & Raouf, A. (2009). Handbook of maintenance
management and engineering. London: Springer.
Ayeni, P., Baines, T.S., Lightfoot, H., & Ball, P. (2011). State-of-the-art of ‘Lean’ in the aviation
maintenance, repairs, and overhaul industry. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, p.0954405411407122.
Cameron, S. (2008). The MBA Handbook: skills for mastering management. London: Pearson
Choules, C. (2013). Maintenance and repair organization Exposition. Retrieved on 10 th
September 2016 from:
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., & Jackson, P.R. (2012). Management research. Thousand Oaks,
Endsley, M.R. & Robertson, M.M. (2000). Situation awareness in aircraft maintenance teams.
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 26(2), 301-325.
Ghauri, P.N. & Grønhaug, K. (2005). Research methods in business studies: A practical guide.
New York, NY: Pearson Education.
Goddard, W. & Melville, S. (2004). Research methodology: An introduction. London, UK: Juta
and Company Ltd.
Graham, S. & Thrift, N. (2007). Out of order understanding repair and maintenance. Theory,
Culture & Society, 24(3), 1-25.
Jankowicz, A D. (2004). Business Research Projects, (4 th ed.). New York, NY: Thomson
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research Methods for Business Students, (6 th
ed.). New York, NY: FT Prentice.
Peters, M.J., Howard, K., & Sharp, M.J.A. (2012). The management of a student research
project. London: Gower Publishing, Ltd.
Robson, C. (2011). Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner
Researchers. New York, NY: Blackwell Publishing.
Ross, W.A. (2003). September. The impact of next generation test technology on aviation
maintenance. In AUTOTESTCON 2003. IEEE Systems Readiness Technology
Conference. Proceedings. IEEE.