This can happen on Private Jets as well.
The crew has to cancel the flight due to technical issues and the customers can’t fly to their destination anymore.
In our terminology, this is called AOG.
It’s an acronym and means for Aircraft On Ground.
What is an AOG?
It refers to a condition where the safety and/or airworthiness of the airplane has been compromised and is not possible to go airborne anymore.
This can happen due to a technical failure, a birdstrike, an incident between the jet and the airport’s cars or trucks and many other reason.
Usually, the Captain together with the maintenance team assess the situation.
If it is no safe to go, the Captain declares AOG.
What happens to the customers after an AOG?
First of all, the operation department takes care of the customers.
They try to provide different solution to solve the inconvenience.
They might ask them if they are willing to wait until the aircraft will be fixed (if it’s a matter of hours), postpone the flight onto another day, or they might try to find another jet of another company for them.
In this case they will arrange the flight in a very short notice to minimise the inconvenience.
We are now talking about sub-chartering the flight to a different company.
The expenses are covered by the operator who had the AOG with a consequent loss of revenue.
What happens to the Private Jet after an AOG?
The maintenance and the crew take care of the jet.
The main issue is to try to get the engineers and the spare parts at the current location as soon as possible.
If the technician and the spare parts are due to come in days, then the crew closes the jet and goes to the hotel.
When it’s a long maintenance (4 or more days until the airplane is fixed), they might also go home via airline, and the Captain only stays with the jet.
On the other hand, when maintenance is just a matter of hours, they will wait on board.
It’s common to take an aircraft engineer on board if you plan to fly to a remote destination with limited access in case of an AOG.
I recently flew to the Caribbean with the airline to get the customers back to Europe with the Private Jet.
On the day of the flight, while we were preparing everything, the pilots got a message on the computer of “electrical system fail”.
It was not possible to take off.
After a couple of resets and with the support of the maintenance over the phone we had to declare AOG.
One hour before the scheduled take off!
The customers were already at the airport, waiting in the lounge.
The Captain informed them about the situation, and offered different solutions.
One of the possibilities was to use the jet of another operator and another crew (sub-charter).
They decided to take this option.
At least, the customers were heading home as per the original plan, just a few hours later than expected.
We moved the whole catering (long-haul flight catering) as well to the other airplane.
We stayed at the airport for an extra 4 hours to organise the maintenance.
At the end, the spare parts were coming out of the manufacture in Canada, and the engineer was coming from UK.
They both arrived the following day.
Then, one more day for the maintenance and the organisation of the next mission.
On day 3 we flew back to Europe with no customers on board.