ETL Adoption Accelerates

Credit: Conduce

Going paperless in the cockpit with the use of electronic technical logs (ETLs) has been a slow slog, but recently seems to be picking up pace. At least four carriers are now installing ETLs, tying pilots and cabin crew tightly into airline maintenance and operational systems—and bringing several advantages in doing so. Two major MRO software providers are also looking to add ETL capabilities to their apps.   

Jazeera Airways chose Conduce’s eTechLog8 in April and began installation immediately. It expects to begin testing in parallel with paper logs in August to gain regulatory approval and, if all goes well, the airline should be entirely paperless in the cockpit by September, according to Hayley Russell, marketing and project manager at Conduce.

The Kuwaiti carrier operates 17 aircraft (soon to be 18), all flying from the same main hub, which made training pilots easier. “Pilot reaction has been positive so far. They are very keen,” Russell says. “This is the first step of an overall digital drive. Eventually, there will be paperless A checks.”

Russell says even old-fashioned pilots, who resist ETLs initially, often become strong supporters when they see how the software makes their lives easier—for example, in adding fight hours or converting kilograms to liters.

Jazeera is going electronic chiefly to increase data quality and because of how rapidly engineers can access data, even when defects occur when an aircraft is being turned by a third party at a spoke station.

Conduce now has 15 customers operating under 21 air operating certificates. It is integrating its cabin tech log with the pilot ETL and improving its dent and buckle charting tool. Russell says the latest revision of eTechLog8 has already enhanced the system’s back end, making it easier to access data and plug data into Airbus’s Skywise and other analytics tools for predictive maintenance. She adds that Conduce has “seen a huge increase in the demand for ETL solutions.”

Bonza, a low-cost Australian startup airline expecting to begin operations this year, has chosen to implement TrustFlight’s ETL from the very beginning. Bonza will fly Boeing 737MAXs on less frequently served Australian routes. It is owned by the same investors as Flair Airlines, which is also deploying the TrustFlight cockpit software.

“Electronic tech logs are part of a broader commitment to embrace the world’s leading travel technology,” stresses Bonza CEO Tim Jordan. “They not only reduce log entry errors and lost paperwork; going fully digital with tech logs means we save some 7,300 sheets of paper per aircraft, per year.”
According to Jordan, Bonza chose TrustFlight because it was impressed with the provider’s technical expertise and data analytics for managing airworthiness. He believes the software will increase efficiency in managing Bonza’s aircraft records and result in tighter compliance with regulations.

Bonza is hoping for wheels-up in September, and its staff is already tailoring the ETL and basing their preventive maintenance program on it.

Earlier this year, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) selected Ultramain Systems’ ETL, an electronic logbook that has long been part of the software provider’s maintenance and engineering system. The Ultramain app will be used by SAS’s pilots and cabin crews as a technical log, cabin log, journey log, damage log and fueling log.

SAS managers expect the new software to make processes more efficient and reduce disruptions and turn times. They estimate going paperless in the cockpit will save the airline 6,500 man-hours per year. The software also aligns with its sustainability drive by eliminating the 300 paper logbooks per year used by SAS’s group of airlines.

SAS is also the launch customer for Ultramain’s eLine Check, a companion application that allows an airline to manage line maintenance checks paperlessly within the turnaround process.

Vistara Airlines, part of the TATA SIA group, is currently implementing Ultramain ETL, the first ETL approved by India’s regulators. Vistara will soon begin the parallel run required by the regulators.

IFS has been developing an ETL for its Maintenix application, which supports a huge number of commercial aircraft.

Swiss-AS plan to add ETL functions to its AMOS software, which supports more than a hundred customers, by the fourth quarter of 2023.