Air Transport World

JAL: above and beyond. (Japan Air Lines Company Ltd.'s airline maintenance system)

It's called Kizuki Maintenance Engineer System. Roughly translated, the Japanese word kizuki means aircraft lover, or more specifically, aircraft fanatic. It's the system that Japan Airlines has established to ensure both the mechanical safety of its aircraft and a smooth, efficient turnaround service. Again more specifically, it assigns individual responsibility of every JAL aircraft to a specific maintenance team.

Established in July, 1986, the kizuki maintenance-engineer system is indicative of the JAL's overall maintenance program, which uses personal commitment and management-employee communications to achieve success.

According to Kimiya Nakazato, managing director, engineering and maintenance, JAL's program is based on the Japanese management philosophy of "a group of human beings [working] together in harmony for common ideals." Nakazato said that this management philosophy is based on "participation, cooperation, long-term perspective and informative efficiency."

An example of this is the placement of numerous engineers on the shop floor. This means that technology is easily shared by all the maintenance workers and that the engineers "can put their valuable experience to practical use, contributing to the company by making proposals for better productivity and solving problems," Nakazato said.

One engineer, Senior Engineering Mechanic Teizo Watanabe, personally received the Emperor's Award of excellence for development of new maintenance methods and the tools to perform them, evidenced by a long string of personal awards for excellence from JAL.

Also, the shop technicians who are not engineers, are trained to think as engineers, said Yoshiki Nakamura, director-Maintenance Engineering Section, Aircraft Systems Maintenance Center. This means that the workers not only know what they are doing but why they are doing it and how it works, he said. …

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