Blue-Light Special? Paying Attention To Parts

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Once you buy the airplane and put it into operation, that's only half the battle: You still have to maintain it. Getting parts for a broken aircraft can be excruciating, especially if it's out of production. And for some aircraft from some manufacturers, paying for the parts can be as expensive a proposition as acquisition. Now, two companies -- Bombardier and Raytheon -- are working to take the sting and the wait time out of getting and paying for parts. Bombardier Aerospace last week announced launching a "new high-priority parts delivery program" designed for aircraft-on-ground (AOG) situations. The program is designed to deliver much-needed parts to North American business aircraft operators within 12 hours, compared with the 24-hour industry standard. Bombardier is centralizing all AOG parts deliveries with Expeditors International, a global freight forwarder with 170 offices worldwide. In addition, AOG orders are now routinely ready for shipping within one and a half hours of receiving a customer's request. The program was initially launched in December 2004. Meanwhile, Raytheon Aircraft Company's customer support organization says it is rolling back prices on over 17,500 parts. The company's RAPID parts component -- Raytheon Aircraft Parts Inventory & Distribution -- is selling Beechcraft and Hawker parts at a reduced price -- many reduced as much as 50 percent from original. The company's latest round of discounting follows an earlier one, announced in October 2004. According to RAPID, customers can actually see each new part price update on the company's Web site, where regular updates will be posted.