MRO Continuing Its Worldwide Digital Evolution

AirAsia aircraft

It feels like the pulse of digitalization is becoming more rapid as airlines and the aftermarket invest in new ways to operate.

Take AirAsia, Inside MRO’s Airline Insight this month. James Pozzi interviewed Javed Malik, AirAsia’s group chief operations officer, who talks about why it established Asia Digital Engineering and how this will affect its fleet’s maintenance.

While airlines in-sourcing MRO once they reach a certain size isn’t new, AirAsia’s reasoning is. As Malik says, “We felt that with our analytics and predicative capabilities in place, along with our mobility in our workforce, we could explore creating a low-cost-carrier equivalent of a maintenance offering.”

Part of that involves building better algorithms for its aircraft and engines to make them more predictive, as well as finding a more efficient way to buy parts, including a marketplace it created that uses blockchain elements.

It almost sounds like AirAsia is coupling its successful low-cost-carrier institutional knowledge with the mind-set of a startup to evolve its company.

While AirAsia will still outsource some maintenance, Malik stresses that it will do so via “partnerships, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions, so we still have ownership of the technology, data and cost base.”

Given that AirAsia operates one of the largest fleets of Airbus aircraft powered by GE Engines, it’s interesting to point out that GE Digital, one of the pioneers of aviation analytics, joined Airbus and Delta TechOps in the Digital Alliance in July.

The companies say that GE Digital’s addition almost doubles the number of analytics algorithms and part numbers that can be monitored by their analytics. In announcing the expanding partnership, Andrew Coleman, GE Digital senior vice president and general manager for aviation software, said, “Integrated, analytics-based solutions are guiding the industry in its move to a safer, more efficient, sustainable and digitally connected era.”

While the MRO industry is certainly moving forward digitally on many fronts, if maintenance and engineering personnel cannot access a signal in the hangar, MRO workflow productivity becomes problematic. Lindsay Bjerregaard tackles this subject on page MRO20.

If you would like to hear more insights from Javed Malik, he is speaking on a leaders panel, along with Sri Lankan Airlines CEO Vipula Gunatilleka and Lion Air Batam Aero Technic President I Nyoman Rai Pering, at our virtual MRO Asia-Pacific event on Sept. 21. You can find the full event schedule at:

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.