The first two sections of the system, the sizeable port wing docks - each 88m2 and weighing 10 tonne - were transported to the site by an 8.7m wide by 17m long truck and trailer unit early this morning and maneuvered over the fence into the premises by a crane at Hangar 1.

ANZES Narrow Body Aircraft Maintenance Manager, Sam Lachman said the docking system, which is similar to what some overseas maintenance operations have, will make a real difference to operations at the base.

"This mobile docking system is unique. It makes aircraft so much easier to work on and it can be adjusted to fit more than 12 different aircraft types, with four different wings and six different engines so is very flexible," he said

"The system is world class and will enable us to service a wide range of aircraft from Boeing 737-200 through to 900 and Airbus 318 to 321. Other maintenance docking systems can be very aircraft specific and limited in their application. This system can be used inside or outside the hangar and can be adjusted to various heights to suit the maintenance being undertaken."

Once all the parts are in place the docks will have four extending platforms, two port and two starboard with bridge platforms that extend over the wings. It will provide easy access to all parts of the aircraft. In addition to these there are four extensions that accommodate the longer aircraft. Access to the crown of the aircraft will be via a moveable curved ladder.

"The new docking system will also improve productivity and reduce costs because it will reduce aircraft turn around times," said Mr Lachman.

"At a total cost of $4.5 million it's a great investment in the future of the base because it will significantly improve the service we can provide to our customers."

The innovative docks were designed by professional services company Beca which has provided structural, mechanical and project management services throughout the project. Christchurch company, Southern Cross Engineers, was granted the contract to construct the docks, and are currently working on the second pair of wing docks which will be delivered to the Christchurch base at the beginning of June. The other components of the system including tail and fuselage docks will be delivered throughout the year.


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