Customer support provided by manufacturer Allison Transmission assures vehicle reliability and a more efficient trip when flying in Nairobi.
SLIEDRECHT, April 16th 2012 – Maintenance staff at Kenya Airways’ vehicle depot in Nairobi are improving the reliability of its fleet of buses, trucks and service vehicles, thanks to in-the-field training and advice from Allison Transmission. Having made the decision to adopt the most relevant technologies to support increasing traffic numbers, Kenya Airways specified Allison fully automatic transmissions in its newly purchased Xinfa buses to offer better durability and safer maneuvering around the airport.
According to Mr Tom Ogendo, maintenance manager at Kenya Airways, buses transport passengers from boarding gates to the aircraft, each playing a critical role in ramp operations and aircraft turn-arounds to ensure smooth boarding and disembarking. “Reliability and dependability long into service life were major factors in the decision to require Allison automatics. The transmissions have operated well, and we have confidence in the units as they are nearly maintenance free,” said Mr Ogendo.
Allison Transmission invests time with customers, and this applies to both operation and maintenance support. Spending time in the field allows customers to get the most out of the entire driveline and provides Allison with valuable feedback.
“When Kenya Airways requested support for its new buses, we were delighted to help,” said Allison UK and Africa regional manager Riccardo Sardelli. “We have a wealth of valuable training material for transmission maintenance and overall operation of the product to ensure our customers extract the highest value from our gearbox.”
Representatives from Allison visited the growing airline at its headquarters in Nairobi to train 14 of its staff over a four-day period. “The Xinfa buses from China use our T270 transmission – one of our Torqmatic® Series models – a trusted bus-specific range of transmissions, also very popular with UK operators,” said Riccardo Sardelli. “This bus uses our transmission in a front-wheel drive configuration, maximising passenger space.”
Kenya Airways’ maintenance team readily appreciated the responsive support. “The technical back up from Allison is excellent so far,” said Mr Ogendo. “Our spare part enquiries and technical information requests are responded to quickly. Technical manuals, bulletins and other electronic information are sent to us in a timely manner, and Allison has responded to warranty questions without hassles. We expect to benefit from this continued cooperation in the future.”
Supporting local engineers in efforts to improve procedures that will protect the transmissions was another element of Allison’s field training. Together with the Kenya Airways’ engineers, an Allison specialist completed a full oil and filter change on the highest mileage Xinfa, highlighting the process, appropriate tools and methods. “The oil is a crucial element of transmission performance,” said Riccardo Sardelli. “We were able to demonstrate onsite the best way to drain, inspect and analyze the oil and filter using their facilities and tools. Emphasizing this minimises fleet disruption, lowers costs and protects the transmission.”
As part of the training Allison advised on best practices in other areas including welding, jump starting, vehicle towing and removing prop shafts, as well as the general inspection for potential oil or water leaks. The maintenance team training can be applied to other Allison equipped vehicles, including the Kenya Airways truck fleet, which includes an Ambilift-bodied Volvo FL and several DAFs.
“The operation and safety benefits make fully automatic transmissions a compelling choice for harried airport environments,” said Sardelli. With Allison’s popularity growing on the African continent in applications as diverse as mining, buses and distribution, he expects that Kenya Airways’ lead will be recognised by others. “No matter the OEM or the destination of our transmissions, Allison strives to achieve our brand promise of an unrivalled combination or quality, reliability, durability, vocational value and customer service for our customers around the world,” added Sardelli.