MRO Blockchain Alliance To Go Live In Q2

Seven aviation companies have joined forces to launch the MRO Blockchain Alliance, which will investigate the use of blockchain technologies to give better cross-industry visibility over the lifecycle of aircraft parts.

The launch announcement follows an earlier briefing, at MRO Europe in London on Oct. 16, where stakeholders talked about forming an industry-wide non-commercial partnership to explore blockchain applications for MRO.

Seven companies have since joined the initiative: Bolloré Logistics, Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific, aircraft-data firm FLYdocs, HAECO Group, Ramco Systems, aviation IT specialist SITA and Willis Lease Finance Corp., supported by legal firm Clyde & Co.

“The alliance will spend the next few months in the planning phase, with the aim of going live with the first proof of concept in the second quarter of 2020,” said SITA, announcing the launch Feb. 4.

Blockchain is a technology that is used to create highly secure databases, where transactions and data are recorded and confirmed, creating a secure set of read-only data records.

In MRO, blockchain can be used to track and record a part’s lifecycle. Data could include the part’s maintenance history and all the different players it has spanned.

The MRO industry processes 25 billion parts annually, with 20,000 suppliers adding three billion new parts each year. Currently, there is no global parts database, incomplete data sharing and only partial-digitalization.

In April 2019, consultancy firm PwC estimated that the use of blockchain to track aircraft parts could cut MRO costs globally by around 5% or $3.5 billion.

The alliance believes that blockchain will simplify and speed up parts tracking and help with secure data-sharing between industry stakeholders.

“In the coming months, the alliance will launch a proof of concept to demonstrate the use of blockchain to digitally track and record the movements and maintenance history of parts across a wide number of players. These include airlines, lessors, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as engine producers, logistics suppliers and maintenance providers,” the partners said.

The alliance will use blockchain to record and track two separate strands of information for each aircraft part. A “digital thread” will give the status of the part over time, while a “digital passport”--like a human passport--will establish the indisputable identity of a part.

SITA will manage governance for the alliance, support working groups, deliver the blockchain technology components and validate the work with regulators and standardization bodies.

Victoria Moores

Victoria Moores joined Air Transport World as our London-based European Editor/Bureau Chief on 18 June 2012. Victoria has nearly 20 years’ aviation industry experience, spanning airline ground operations, analytical, journalism and communications roles.