Purpose Aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) is the most critical profession in the aircraft maintenance system. The tasks of a licensed AMT require expertise and involve repetitive physical tasks such as tightening or loosening aircraft parts, carrying or removing parts during long working hours under time pressure and day/night shifts. This study aims to attract attention to the difficult working conditions of AMTs and identify the body parts that are at risk of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). Design/methodology/approach A questionnaire is developed by the authors to gather demographic information, use of hand tools, equipment, use of fall protection, manual material handling (lifting, pushing, pulling), load weight, environmental factors, and MSD discomfort level perceptions. The questionnaire is applied to 150 AMTs during six months period, and the obtained data are analyzed by sequential ordinal logistic regression (OLR) models. Findings The ORL results confirm that the use of equipment (lift platform, scissors lift), safety belt attached to the platform, manual material handling, environmental factors (humidity, vibration and illumination) and resting periods have a significant effect on MSD risks. On the contrary, age, experience level, use of small hand tools, temperature and noise are not identified as statistically significant. Originality/value The study is original for it considers the working conditions and perceived discomfort levels of AMTs. A questionnaire is introduced to assess the consequences of the use of tools, equipment, fall protection equipment, environmental conditions and work organization on various body parts (neck, shoulder, elbow, back, lower back, wrist-hand, hip, knee, and ankle-feet), and strain level is identified. The study contributes to the theoretical aircraft maintenance literature and managers in practice.