Airlines Push Forward Digitalization Plans
Greater utilization of data and installing electronic flight bags are some of the initiatives implemented by airlines over the past two years as they look to drive greater efficiencies across their maintenance divisions.
Speaking on a panel about airline strategies at Aviation Week’s MRO BEER in Istanbul on Wednesday (June 15), Krzysztof Krolak, technical director at LOT Polish Airlines, says the carrier has looked at the efficiency of each internal process before it goes to the outside as the first step.
The second step, Krolak says, lies in data utilization. He points to the digitalization work of Hungarian airline Wizz Air as a model example in this area: “How can we get the data on time? It’s all about providing digitalization...we are building up to that."
Krolak says LOT is kicking off a project which will look to connect the airline with maintenance providers. This involves working on tablets and applications to anticipate defects and plan before LOT-operated aircraft land.
In recent times, it has introduced electronic flight bags to its operation. “This improved a lot of things, and we need to keep moving on,” Krolak adds.
Shaune du Plessis, director of maintenance operations at Bahrain-based cargo carrier Texel Air, says being a smaller-sized business has meant adopting a cautionary approach to digitalization. “We take it as it comes as the fleet grows and strategize about whether or not it is the right time to move into a digital world,” he says.
He says the carrier is looking at using electronic technical logbooks (ETLs). “The fleet has grown to the point where we feel that ETL is needed to change, and I think the regulator would agree with that,” du Plessis says, adding that paper tech logs are often open for error.
He adds that Texel Air intends to look at introducing a maintenance and CAMO management system, but stresses the core function of the carrier is to fly aircraft. “The core function of the pilots is to fly a serviceable aircraft and the core function of the engineering team is to ensure that the parties have a certain aircraft to fly. That’s what we’re focusing on at the moment and where our efficiencies lie,” he says.
“The response of today and tomorrow is technology and, specifically, digitalization,” says Tahsin Istanbullu, executive vice president of technical at Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines. He says Pegasus is also developing its own technical logbook capabilities, which to date have run paperless.
“We are still working on the second phase of the technical logbook,” he says. Another aim is to make the maintenance of Pegasus’s fleet, which numbers more than 80 Airbus and Boeing narrowbody aircraft, as predictable as possible by using data technology. It is using platforms such as Lufthansa Technik’s Aviatar solution as well as Skywise from Airbus, which Istanbullu says is a “useful, data-driven initiative.”
He adds: “The future is definitely in technology and digitalization, and the more you make problems such as ground times predictable, the more you’ll have your efficiency.”