A few weeks back Jet Airways announced a contest where they asked their social media followers to send them their best experiences flying with 9W. I’ve been flying with them a few years and I’ve had some memorable trips with them. So, I found myself on the list of invitees who were going to get exclusive access to the Jet Airways maintenance hangar in BOM on June 16, 2012. I was a happy camper, since the Aviation Geek side of me always loves to see the other side of airlines just as much as I love flying on them. Jet Airways uses only one hangar facility in BOM for their internal maintenance of planes, and it was not a sight I was going to miss.
It was a small bunch of about 30 people who turned up from across the country, and while most of them were flying in, some of us were going to walk it up or drive down to the event. Not complaining one bit though, I could sleep till 8 AM and still be there by 9 AM!
Here are some of the first sights of a three Boeing 737s as I walked in after completing registrations…
Jet Airways had an impressive line up for the day. Since the event was the brainchild of Jet Airways’ online team (referred to as the e-commerce team for them), the entire team was there to mingle and chat with the participants. Also, there were some of the oldest engineering hands in the airline, who have been with the company since the past 2 decades, right there to talk to us through the day.
The day kicked off with a small classroom session on Aviation history and how planes work. Interesting new tit-bits for me to learn as well…
We were not held back in the class for long, and then ushered for a Plane-spotting session on the terrace of the Hangar. This gave me the opportunity to have a panoramic view of the Mumbai airport, and some good shots of planes taking off and landing!
After that, we got our hands dirty and the real show started. Let me admit, I’ve never been inside the maintenance facilities of an airline before and so the stuff I saw was absolutely new for me. We walked through the wheel & brake and some of us also went to the seat workshops I am told.
Walking out and about there we found our way to the main hangar. We were greeted by some engines demanding repairs. A B777 GE CFM90 engine with a birdhit was one, and a B737 stood next like its younger sibling.
The 777 engine was mighty tall at 6 feet, and my best shot for a close-up only got me half of it.
We walked around the planes. VT-JBS, a B737-800 was in the hangar for regular C-checks and was without its engines as well.
Next up was a trip to the JetKonnect Boeing 737-700 VT-JNW which was parked for our exploration. For the first time in hundreds of flights I found out there is a megaphone on each plane.
Yes, I did manage to peep under the nosewheel, and also got to see the belly section of the plane where all the avionics computers are installed.
After a long discussion with the Jet Airways engineering team where they explained how most things work, we were off to lunch, and joined in by the Chief Commercial Officer of 9W, Mr. Sudheer Raghavan.
The event was an eyeopener into aircraft maintenance and also an opportunity to exchange notes with some people at Jet Airways about how various things work at the airline and how as a frequent traveller with them I’d like things to be.
And what better a parting gift for an airline event could be, but for a model plane. An Airbus A-330 in 9W colors now sits pretty with my modest airline model collection now.
All in all, a day well spent, and I’d look out for more!
P.S.: I’ve posted an entire gallery of pictures here!