UPS SETS NOVEMBER DATE TO COMPLETE TRANSITION

UPS SETS NOVEMBER DATE TO COMPLETE TRANSITION

United Parcel Service, the giant small-package delivery specialist, plans to complete the transition to direct air carrier status by late November.

On Feb. 1, UPS flew its first revenue trip as a Federal Aviation Administration certified Part 121 carrier. The company has negotiated with its current carriers a schedule by which all UPS-owned aircraft will be transferred to its personal control.Our goal is to have all of the UPS-owned jet aircraft on our certificate by the end of November. At that time, the fleet will consist of 92 aircraft, including six 747s, 35 DC8s, 36 727s and 15 757s, said Rick Sine, aircraft maintenance manager at UPS.

Mr. Sine addressed the Speednews Aviation Industry Suppliers' Conference in Los Angeles.

Last August, UPS set the aviation industry buzzing when it announced its intention to become an FAA-certified Part 121 direct air carrier and assume responsibility for operating and maintaining its jet fleet as contracts with current operators expired in 1988.

The decision was a 180-degree turn from the company policy, in existence since 1981, in which UPS dry-leased its aircraft to operating companies and chartered the planes back. The operating companies provided flight crews, line maintenance mechanics and the management structure needed to satisfy FAA operating requirements.

As UPS grew in size and complexity of operations, company officials began to reassess the stick to the knitting philosophy that stated that UPS should engage only in small-package delivery, and leave its aircraft operations to carriers with FAA certificates. Last year, a decision was made.

The complexity of our operating system and the demand for flexibility to enable us to respond to weather conditions, sudden volume surges or other unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances made it clear that some of our methods and concepts needed to change, Mr. Sine said.

He cited the following drawbacks to its system of operations:

* Nine separate maintenance programs were in place for the UPS-owned fleet.

* Four separate FAA regions offered guidance and surveillance to the carriers that provided services to UPS.

* Scarce resources of pilots, mechanics, spare parts, tools and equipment were consumed due to duplication of efforts.

While each of the carriers was operating well on an independent basis, the ability to coordinate their activity, policies and procedures was becoming unmanageable, Mr. Sine said.

Over the past six months, UPS has been engaged in a massive program of recruiting and training a maintenance and flight operations staff. UPS is writing a general maintenance manual, operations manuals, ground handling documents, minimum equipment lists and a weight and balance manual.

The transition schedule calls for UPS to take over an average of two aircraft each week. Also, UPS must convert the 64 stations in its system to conform with regulations spelled out in the company's policies and procedures manuals.

UPS will do all line maintenance work with its own people. For the time being, though, it will continue to do business with the heavy maintenance, engine and component vendors it has used in the past.

As we gain experience and see the operational and economic justification, changes to this approach can be made. For now, however, we intend to concentrate on the basics, Mr. Sine said.