MRO Management

IATA AGM 2024: Cirium data oils the wheels of predictive maintenance and sustainability

Cirium chief executive Jeremy Bowen
photo_camera Cirium chief executive Jeremy Bowen

Aviation data analytics firm Cirium has developed new tools to help MRO’s operate more efficiently and to drive up sustainability as the sector struggles with new aircraft deliveries.

Ground Events was developed to help MRO providers understand demand for their services while Emerald Sky is providing a more reliable and accurate picture of carbon emissions.

Cirium claims Ground Events is the first of a kind and allows users to predict the likely maintenance requirements of every individual aircraft.

Speaking to Aviation Business news at IATA AGM in Dubai last week, Cirium chief executive Jeremy Bowen said on-ground data gives a fuller picture when married to flight data.

“A lot of people want to know where the aircraft is in the sky but it’s equally important to know what’s happening on the ground,” he said.

“If the aircraft lands and turns left, then we know it’s going into maintenance and we can see how long it’s in there for. Then you can predict when it’s next likely to happen using AI.”

Ground Events, which was showcased at the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, will help MROs to plan the parts, equipment and people they will need before the aircraft arrives.

Bowen said this is now integral to commercial fleet management as operators look to have better oversight of service cycles of individual aircraft and owners keep tabs on their valuation.

And with leasing rates rising due to challenges in supply chains and new aircraft delivery, demand for this sort of insight looks likely to be in the increase for some time to come.

“People are having to fly older aircraft which are less fuel efficient. Ultimately the world’s fleet is not renewing as fast as it was thought it would be,” said Bowen.

He said as demand returns, July 2024 is set to be the highest-ever emissions month for the aviation industry, beating the previous high of July 2019, prior to the COVID pandemic.

As the industry waits for production cycles to recover and the delivery of next generation, more fuel-efficient aircraft, the world’s existing fleet is being worked “very hard”.

Cirium’s Emerald Sky supports carriers to develop sustainable operations and benchmark themselves against industry performance.

“We know where every aircraft has been pushed back, how long it’s taxied before take off, how long those engines have been on. We also know the exact configuration,” Bowen said.

“Put that together and we can accurately predict how much carbon that fleet has emitted, or how much that particular seat has emitted.

“Carbon calculators were based on averages, on route distance and they assume every specific aircraft type is the same, but they are all configured differently and we have that data.

“The industry has been playing around with this for a couple of years but the people who will really drive this change are the corporates who put their travellers on the plane.

“As soon as companies have to pay for their emissions they will want to make sure they have the most accurate baseline and we offer the most accurate baseline, bar none.

“As corporate travellers you will be given a carbon budget, so as a corporate travel manager you will look to remove from your policy the suppliers who burn more fuel.”

Bowen said airlines’ embrace of digital transformation since the pandemic has accelerated as they look to use the data that’s available to operate more efficiently.

“Data is airlines’ new oil,” he said. “Such rich data sets just did not talk to each other in airlines in the past.

“Now airlines need data analytics to drive more effective route planning and to help get their on-time performance right.”

The Ground Events tool is part of Cirium’s Ascend Consultancy providing business analytics services that airlines use to optimise financial strategies, investments and residual valuations.

Bowen said: “Airlines are using our data to build a better plan, when they want to understand their own on-time performance as well as that of their competitors on the same routs.

“On-time performance is becoming a differentiator between airlines and they are starting to advertise themselves based in the likelihood of them getting you to your destination in time.

“It’s fiercely competitive and all airlines have to face that balancing act between on-time performance and aircraft making X number of cycles in a given period.”

Analysis of data is being used in many operational circumstances like assessing how airlines are coping with bad weather at a particular airport.

Airlines are also using data to calculate the ideal passenger numbers to ensure they make their slots, where to fly to and what market share they can expect when entering a new destination.

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