SANTIAGO, CHILE: When you walk into an aircraft cabin the cleanliness and overall visual appearance of the cabin has an immediate effect on your perception not only of that airline but also on the condition and airworthiness of the aircraft as a whole. This fact has been taken very much to heart by LAN’s dedicated cabin impeccability team led by cabin development manager, Carolina Fuertes.
I recently had the opportunity to witness first hand an impeccability inspection of one of LAN’s A340-300′s at their Santiago line maintenance facility. Over 2,000 individual cabin items are visually inspected on each aircraft every month to ensure that the aircraft go into service in an impeccable state and positively contribute to each and every passenger’s travel experience.
This visual inspection covers the general condition of all passenger seats, business class back shells and ottomans, light fittings, meal tables, privacy dividers, soft furnishings, all decorative finishes and seat belts. Any defects, scuffs, gaps and mismatches between mating surfaces are all noted down on a detailed inspection report. The inspection also covers the door vestibule areas, lavatories, sidewall linings, class dividers curtains and window blinds.
Fernanda Toro, LAN’s VP travel experience says that the impeccability inspection is a core element of LAN’s travel experience mission. “We believe that our travel experience adds significant value to our company and is an essential part of our business model along with our people, safety and efficiency.”
When questioned about what set’s LAN apart from their competition Toro says, “We are very proud of South America, proud of our region and we want to bring our region to the world. We provide a reliable travel experience with all the charm of South America. Our vision is to provide the best travel experience within, to and from South America and to be recognised as one of the world’s top 10 airlines.”
“Our purpose of service is that we are people caring for people. We build our services from the attributes associated with our brand. Our passengers told us that in premium business the main attribute they look for is ‘rest’ so we choose the best bed in the market [Sicma Majesty]. Rest isn’t just about sleep, it’s also about disconnecting, so good wine, good food and good entertainment are also very important.”
“We try to achieve the extra ‘wow’ factor with our passengers and give them something unexpected that creates an emotional response so that they remember the airline brand that they were flying on.”
LAN’s impeccability team work to ensure that each aircraft in the fleet meet at least 88% of the inspection requirements. I asked Fuertes why a seemingly arbitrary target of 88% had been set and was told that the original target was 85% but they wanted to, “challenge themselves so raised the bar a bit higher.”
Any inspection findings are ranked in terms of impact to the passenger and the most significant items are then scheduled for maintenance recovery action and/or repair. Passenger impact is decided against a sliding scale of relative importance created through numerous passenger surveys.
This procedure, originally initiated at the Santiago facility, is now also undertaken at LAN’s maintenance facilities in Buenos-Aires, Argentina and Lima’s Jorge Chavez international airport in Peru, with the same attention to detail being paid to regional, short-haul as well as long haul aircraft. Fuertes says, “We have a methodology of continuous improvement so all our inspection findings are tracked across LAN’s fleet and maintenance bases via a comprehensive set of key performance indicators (KPIs).” The next step in LAN’s approach is to predict preventative maintenance that can be undertaken to stop damage happening in the first place.