Predictive maintenance promises to address many issues the aviation sector is facing today including operational inefficiencies, the lack of skilled staff and the need to reduce carbon emissions.
Airbus digital services marketing manager, Jaime Ferrer Perez told this week’s Predictive Aircraft Maintenance (PAM) Conference that predictive maintenance is bigger than just engineering.
He said it can be used to reduce the $42 billion worth of inefficiencies in aviation by turning unscheduled maintenance into planned.
And Airbus estimates the sector will need to increase its workforce by 2.2 million, including one million in maintenance for the 45,000 aircraft that will be flying in 20 years.
“Predictive maintenance is part of something bigger. It’s actually, I think, a key step in the transformation of TechOps from a reporting organisation to what it will become in the future.
“Moving towards data driven TechOps will allow operations to be fully driven based in the airline’s objectives and not maintenance requirements and other constraints.
“For that we need tools and data to accurately know the condition of the aircraft and to know what’s going to happen, to simulate events. We need to deploy the right analytics to make the right decisions.”
Perez said the first step is to establish a strong data foundation which means having a platform developed for the aviation industry which includes data governance and cybersecurity as standard.
“That’s why we launched SkyWise,” he said, describing it as the core of the digital transformation taking place in Airbus. Today, six years after launch, the manufacturer has 30,000 staff using it daily.
SkyWise has 10,900 aircraft connected to the system including over 6,500 in the Airbus fleet and new use cases are being developed both by Airbus and the airlines using it.
Airbus has over 80 engineers working on SkyWise developing models that can take between six months and two to complete and need 15,000 flight cycle data sets.
Perez said Airbus also needs to deploy more complex analytics using Artificial Intelligence in areas like anomaly detection and multi-variable effects.
“It’s not just having an algorithm, we need to keep improving its performance based on the data and we use it to develop much more complex models.
“And even that’s not enough. We need to integrate expertise and knowledge so that’s why we launched the Digital Alliance (Airbus, GE Aerospace and Delta).”
Perez added: “Technical operations is not only about predictive maintenance. It’s key for the transformation of TechOps because it generates value today and pushes the boundaries of our industry. That’s pushing us closer to a data driven operation.”
Predictive maintenance is helping to change organisation culture and mindset in the aviation sector as well the regulations that will shape the future of TechOps, said Perez.