AOG: Avoiding costly delays with ‘Aircraft On Ground’ complications

AOG: Avoiding costly delays with ‘Aircraft On Ground’ complications

AOG: Avoiding costly delays with ‘Aircraft On Ground’ complications

When you need to move aircraft parts FAST, in an AOG (Aircraft On Ground) situation, you need a company in your corner that can avoid the delays that quickly rack up BIG COSTS.

Our energy, our passion to succeed and our LOVE of a challenge comes in really handy when our customers face a crisis at holiday time.

The Request

‘Twas the night before Christmas… well, almost. It was actually Friday December 21 at 5.45pm when we got the call to collect an oversized cowl from Spain and deliver it to Switzerland by Boxing Day!

The Lobina family knows what a special time Christmas is, and it’s important to us that we go the extra mile so that our clients can enjoy time with their families knowing we’re making things run like clockwork.

The Lobina team shot into action straight away.

In this particular case, the AOG cargo was extremely critical so we looked at both road and air charter options and checked out the situation with all the permits and permissions that would be needed.

The Challenges

This was a job where we needed to use all our connections, and the knowledge we’ve built up over the years, to tackle a whole host of challenges. These included:

  • Sourcing air charter options.
  • Arranging oversized vehicles with the relevant permits.
  • Finding dedicated drivers who were willing to miss out on Christmas with their loved ones and had full available driving hours.
  • Ensuring the entrance to the border between France and Switzerland would be open.
  • Confirming that customs at the Swiss border would be open.
  • Organising police permits in three different districts of Switzerland.
  • Arranging a police escort in Switzerland for the oversized load.

We LOVE a challenge and in this case we smashed it for our client!

The Solution

December 22: Calls and emails were exchanged between us and the client all day. We always keep customers in the loop from the moment they ask for our help. We put together three transportation options that could all hit the crucial Boxing Day deadline.

December 23, 11.43am: The client chose the option they wanted and gave us the green light to get going. There was a slight hitch because the cargo was going to be ready later than originally expected! But we always adapt when things change and we went ahead with:

  • Preparation of export documents
  • Collection of the necessary documents for airport entrance authorisations
  • Constant communications between driver and client

December 23, 8.10pm: The cowl was loaded and on its way to Switzerland… Phew!!

We always monitor all shipments, for peace of mind. That’s a given. On this occasion extra special attention was given. Between the truck setting off and arriving at the Swiss border, there was a constant flow of communications ensuring that everything was running smoothly. Christmas Day was no exception! The Lobina team still watched everything that was happening like a hawk!

The Unexpected

December 26, 3.48am: The driver arrived at the French-Swiss border and was told to wait.

December 26, 5.40am: The driver gave us the news that no-one wanted to hear… the entrance to the Swiss border had been blocked.  Custom borders often close for national holidays. Lobina’s team had been in communication with the customs clearance office before the shipment set off. We’d been promised that everything would be fine and we were armed with phone numbers to use in case of any complications.

When we heard that all entrances were blocked, we tried the numbers that we’d been given, but when no-one answered we used our initiative and skill to get a NEW number.

This number got us through – but we were told the border wouldn’t open until the 28th

December 26, 5.55am: Swiss border security confirmed that the border would not re-open until Thursday 28th but we weren’t about to take that as a final answer, We knew that if our clients’ plane was grounded for another two days their costs would rocket! We were determined to find a solution.

December 26, 6.49am: We made sure we persisted and got through to more senior management at the border and explained the urgency of our shipment. We told them that we had previously been promised that our delivery could enter the country, even though it was Boxing Day. Just 12 minutes later, we were told that wheels were being put into motion for the shipment’s entry to Switzerland.

At this point, we were in communication with:

  • Control Tower at the Swiss border – for permission to enter the country.
  • Local police – for authorisation permits for three separate districts in Switzerland.
  • The customs agent – to speed customs clearance.
  • The client – informing them of every step in the operation in detail.
The Outcome

December 26, 11.05am: Persistence paid off as the truck finally made it to its destination and off-loaded successfully.

Mission accomplished!

The cowl was delivered by its deadline, despite the unexpected complications. Lobina’s client was delighted to have the part delivered and to have avoided further, costly delays of an AOG.

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