Aircraft IT MRO – Summer 2012

Aircraft IT MRO – Summer 2012 Cover


Name Author
Getting high value by spreading IT services Dr Franck Duluc, Engineering & Maintenance Research Manager, Airbus View article
How I see IT Michael Wm. Denis, Vice President, Customer Engagement, InfoTrust Group View article
Case Study: Documentation in the 21st Century Julie Steadman, Principal Airworthiness Records, Virgin Atlantic View article
MRO Networks Michael Wm. Denis, Vice President, Customer Engagement, InfoTrust Group View article
Case Study: A New MRO System for Qantas Engineering Geoff Zuber, General Manager, Aerospace & Utilities, Holocentric View article

How I see IT

Author: Michael Wm. Denis, Vice President, Customer Engagement, InfoTrust Group


How I see IT – Regular Column from Michael Wm. Denis

Standards are great for aircraft records, unless there’s more than one of them… and they’re incompatible

On 26 July, GECAS and AerData announced their intent to establish an industry standard aircraft records platform. So, what is this all about? And is it good or bad for the aviation and aerospace industries?

Last year, Seabury conducted a study for the Aviation Working Group (AWG) which identified the causes and quantified the “Economic Impact of Dissimilar Technical [Regulatory] Requirements on the Transferability of Aircraft and Engines”. Bottom line = $7 Billion USD over the past twenty years and growing.

The question is; who’s paying this bill? At the end of the day (or end of the value chain) either passengers or the shareholders of operators (airlines / cargo) are footing this bill. Lessors see the problem first hand, as do operators when they move aircraft on/off lease. And lessors do absorb some of the cost, but in the end, lessors and financiers embed this cost of doing inefficient business into their lease rates whenever possible.

Richard Poutier, SVP Technical, ILFC brought this issue to the forefront in the airline, OEM and MRO community during the Executive Council session Aviation Week before the MRO IT event last October.

Anton Tams, SVP Technical at GECAS, presented his vision of the future at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in April where he described the “CarFax” of aircraft assets.

ILFC and GECAS, together with AerCap and DVB (joint owners of AerData) definitely have the industry gravitas to significantly move (if not force) the leasing / financing industry toward standardization (technological and data) for aircraft and rotables records management. But will this address the total industry problem?

Chris Markou, Director Economics, IATA, and Tiymor Kalimat, Manager Technical Procurement at Royal Jordanian Airlines, and Chairman IATA maintenance cost Task Force are leading the airline initiative around standardization of lease contracts and maintenance reserves processing, which includes maintenance and regulatory documentation standardization.

Jon Andresen, President, Aviation Technology Solutions, has been a driving force within the A4A (ATA) SPEC2000 and iSPEC2200 programs and is a staunch advocate of “not reinventing the wheel”.

Most OEMs and larger more advanced airlines know the future of standardization resides in the ASD family of standards called SX000i, which for data standards includes the S1000D schema.

The problem isn’t that we don’t have standards; the problem is that we don’t execute what we promise. The Boeing 787 was supposed to be the first all up S1000D aircraft – but much of the content is only available in SGML and pdf. Rolls-Royce and Airbus have adopted S1000D v4.x for the A350 while some other major aircraft OEMs continue to develop proprietary customizations of v3. While this may enhance their total care suite of products and services – it’s the rest of the industry that will pay the price for non-standardization.

GECAS leading the way where no one else was addressing the problem is better than no actions. By collaborating with AerCap, DVB and ILFC, the GECAS / AerData team have a significant market share of leased aircraft to make a ‘industry standard’ solution stick.

The solution AerData is bringing, STREAM, is a simplistic electronic records capture and archiving solution that probably does address the regulatory transferability problem and probably does not address the larger problem set of the aviation service lifecycle ecosystem.

But, if the solution is not open, extensible, does not use a standard n-tiered / SOA technical architecture or introduces proprietary data standards outside of ATA SPEC2000 or ASD SX000i, then the fear of OEMs and lessors bullying the industry and competitors will turn true. In this case, the hundreds of millions per year that the industry wastes will not be addressed.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Comments (0)

There are currently no comments about this article.

To post a comment, please login or subscribe.