“We’re starting on our journey to make unplanned maintenance a thing of the past”. That’s the potential GE Digital’s senior vice president and general manager aviation software Andrew Coleman sees in the digital alliance created by Airbus and Delta TechOps in 2019 to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions, which is now expanding to include GE Digital.
The Digital Alliance covers airframe and systems analytics and predictive maintenance for a range of ATA chapters on both single-aisle and widebody Airbus aircraft.
The expanded alliance will now focus on further developing solutions “that curb operational disruptions, drive progress in unplanned maintenance events and ultimately benefit global commercial operators’ bottom-line financial performance”, the companies said.
In joining the alliance, GE will bring its aerospace systems engineering expertise and predictive analytics to Airbus’ ‘Skywise’ suite of digital solutions and Delta’s operations and related predictive models. GE’s participation is expected to double both the number of analytics algorithms as well as the number of aircraft parts which can be monitored by the analytics.
Some 140 customers worldwide already engage with Skywise Core, and the alliance’s cross-fleet portfolio of integrated services will deliver efficiencies, cost savings and increased fleet availability, the companies said.
GE Digital’s analytics capabilities and systems portfolio will enhance health monitoring and diagnostics, reliability analysis and predictive maintenance analytics.
“We are looking forward to bringing our analytics capabilities and significant coverage on aircraft parts to the aviation digital alliance, together with Airbus and Delta TechOps,” said Coleman. “In doing so, our joint capabilities will integrate into Skywise’s powerful applications, and also bring GE Digital’s software expertise to the fleets of 140 customer airlines engaged with the Skywise Core platform.”
Delta TechOps’ senior vice president (and president of Delta TechOps Services Group) Don Mitacek said the addition of GE Digital meant the digital alliance was taking “the next step” while “adding more to the mix to help our customers”, as GE would offer complementary services.
Mitacek added: “Delta TechOps teams have unparalleled expertise in their roles to safely and strategically support Delta’s vast, global aircraft fleet maintenance operations in addition to the comprehensive portfolio of services for our more than 150 maintenance, repair and overhaul customers worldwide.
“Together in the aviation digital alliance with Airbus and now welcoming GE Digital, our teams are looking forward to combining our complementary strengths on the Skywise platform, for the mutual benefit of all.”
Airbus’ senior vice president, customer services innovation & digital solutions Lionel Rouby said the main advantage in adding GE Digital was enhancing the coverage of the digital alliance, and in bringing all the companies’ analysts together.
He said: “We are delighted to welcome GE Digital into the aviation digital alliance. The resulting combination of Delta’s know-how in both airline operations and maintenance, Airbus’ aircraft design expertise, Skywise’ operational fleet ‘big-data’ and now GE’s industry leading predictive analytics, will provide even greater value for the multitude of airlines worldwide already connected to the Skywise Core platform. These airlines will soon benefit from even more powerful ‘nose to tail’ and cross-fleet digital solutions.”
To support the growth of the alliance, Airbus has set-up a dedicated team of data scientists, customer experience designers and software developers based in Atlanta to work closely with Delta TechOps and GE Digital.
Any airline can make use of the Skywise platform, the companies said, and data can be formatted so it is segregated and not shared to others. “This is not just a three-way partnership,” said Coleman. “The more data we have, the better – for not just us but the industry.”