Illustration for The Club by Jon Wiggins

May 2024

A day in the life of our line engineers

Right now, 146 line stations around the world ensure our planes are fighting fit for the sky. We drop in on six Line Maintenance Engineers at their outposts to find out more...

From Barbados to Bangalore and further still, our talented engineers and station managers run a tight ship of routine checks and repairs as part of a 540-strong department, led by Head of Operations in Line Maintenance, Gavin Shearer. The operation is unrelentingly. As Gavin puts it: “the sun never sets” on this hardworking team.

“Our Line Maintenance Engineers work closely with airport teams to meet punctuality targets, fixing issues in a tight turnaround, for instance, if a seat has broken on an outbound leg,” explains Gavin. “When issues are identified, the engineers quickly move in.”

These champions of the operation work in a similar vein to our brilliant UK-bound engineers based in London, Cardiff and Glasgow, with the exception of different (sometimes even more) licences and smaller teams – often working as the only engineer on duty at any given station.

To get a day-to-day understanding of the front line, we head straight to the source to ask six Line Maintenance Engineers from around the world about the ins and outs of this varied and dedicated work – with some handy holiday tips along the way...


Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, Boston

Yurika Hoshi
Job title: Duty Maintenance Manager
Where in the world: Boston, USA
I love being based in Boston. It’s such a beautiful and historic city that feels manageable in that it’s not too big and not too small. I balance my career with being a mum, so I juggle bedtimes and packed lunches all before heading off for my shift at 1.30pm. Once at work, I’ll typically work on two to three aircraft, which means preparing for their arrivals, doing arrival walkabouts, checking the logbooks, fixing or deferring their defects, walking through the cabins, doing the departure checks and finally tackling the associated paperwork. Once I’m back home, I like to unwind over dinner and catch up on Japanese TV shows that remind me of home.

Yurika’s top tip for Boston
I had to buy a down jacket when I first arrived in April 2016 – a reminder to be prepared for four seasons. Once you’ve got the gear, walk along the Charles River, do the Freedom Trail and head to the North End – Boston’s Little Italy.


Toronto’s famous CN Tower

Mohamed Nazeer
Job title: Station Maintenance Manager
Where in the world: Toronto, Canada
Every day is different – although all start with a strong cup of coffee for me – but stormy days in Toronto are always more eventful. I remember a particularly bad day many years ago, with multiple flights delayed. As the Aircraft Maintenance Manager, I and my team were tasked with ensuring all planes were safe and ready for departure once the weather cleared. Despite the challenges and pressure, witnessing the collaborative effort of our team to swiftly address maintenance issues and facilitate smooth operations left a lasting impression on me. It reinforced the importance of teamwork, adaptability and a commitment to excellence in our line of work.

Mohamed’s top tip for Toronto
Explore the city’s diverse culinary scene, from trendy eateries in Kensington Market to international food in Little Italy and Chinatown.


Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey

Lee Rogan
Job title: Licensed Aircraft Engineer
Where in the world: Jersey
We’re a small team of three engineers in Jersey. We work shifts to cover the flying and maintenance schedule seven days a week and have up to seven flights from Heathrow to look after daily. My two-year-old daughter makes sure I’m up early doors, even though I only start work at midday, but luckily the drive only takes 20 minutes (the advantages of living on a small island!). Aside from technical skills, we also must be extremely clear communicators – speaking with the flight deck about any issue and keeping the flight dispatchers, Maintrol and OPS, informed with timings to ensure passengers are kept up to date.

Lee’s top tip for Jersey
Jersey is a beautiful island to explore by car or bike, so make sure to think about your transport when visiting, as you’ll want to be able to see as much as possible. I’d suggest an e-bike as it’s surprisingly hilly!


Sunset in Madrid

Rob Stocks
Job title: Licensed Aircraft Engineer
Where in the world: Madrid, Spain
I grew up near Madrid airport, so I always remember my dad teaching me about different kinds of aircraft. From very young, I was obsessed with how everything worked – I loved pulling things apart to reassemble them. That’s a fascination I’ve carried through life with me, and I’m now lucky enough to say I love what I do. The introduction of smartphones and tablets has made our life much easier and we now have access to fault-finding manuals and real-time data from our devices, but aircraft technology changes rapidly. We’re constantly training to keep up with the latest advancements.

Rob’s top tip for Madrid
One must-do that l always recommend is to visit the La Latina quarter, where there are plenty of tapas bars and restaurants. Here you can taste traditional dishes while sitting out on a terrace in the Spanish sunshine like the locals.


The Bandra Worli Sea Link Bridge in Mumbai

Sanjay John
Job title: Station Maintenance Manager 
Where in the world: Mumbai, India
On my first day working for British Airways, I was advised to take a wander to see the aircraft currently on the ground. The Station Manager at the time (now long retired) interpreted what I was doing as “unauthorised wanderings” and said he doubted I’d last more than a week. Here I am, decades later, in that same role, relishing every moment. Mumbai is the busiest station in India, with three British Airways flights operating daily. I feel honoured to collaborate with a team of exceptionally skilled, seasoned and committed engineers and mechanics who together navigate the bustling environment to ensure the timely delivery of safe aircraft. At the end of the day (which starts at 4.15am with tea and biscuits) it’s home to my wife and son, and a quick visit to my mother, who lives nearby.

Sanjay’s top tip for Mumbai
Embrace the chaos, crowds and vibrant energy of the city. Don’t be scared by local street food, either – my favourites are at Zaveri Bazaar Khau Galli and Juhu Chowpatty.


Sydney Harbour

Martin Keenan
Job title: Licensed Aircraft Engineer
Where in the world: Sydney, Australia
I’ve worked for British Airways for 30 years now, both in the UK and overseas. I eventually settled in Sydney after falling in love with the city while travelling. There are only a couple of things I miss from the UK: a good curry and the British sense of humour. A career highlight for me was being part of the team behind the British Airways flight for Her Majesty the Queen’s last visit to Australia in 2011, but the day-to-day work is predominately preventative maintenance. We provide any engineering coverage and certification that is required. As with all flights, if we work well, engineering is hardly noticed because nothing is broken.

Martin’s top tip for Sydney?
Audley in The Royal National Park is about 40 minutes south of Sydney and offers up incredible, wide tracks along a pristine river. The whole thing allows you to get a sense of ‘going bush’ without travelling too far. 

This article has been tagged BA, Technology