The new plane provides airlines with a pile of useful data

This article is part of our new series, currentFind out how rapid advances in technology are changing our lives.

With fewer flights and fewer passengers, the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a wave of challenges for airlines. As the number of passengers in the world remains at about 50% of the 2019 level, some are out of business and others are barely alive.

Airlines are retiring their old aircraft faster than usual because passengers do not fill them. More than 1,400 aircraft that will be parked in 2020 and may not be in service are more than double the number of aircraft that would normally be retired in a year. 10-year aviation forecast By management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. The result is a more modern fleet, the report said.

David Marty, Head of Digital Solutions Marketing at Airbus, said in a semi-glass observation that the planes remaining in the airline’s fleet are younger, more fuel efficient and emit less carbon dioxide.

According to the manufacturer, new engine technology and lightweight construction and components allow the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 to burn 20-25% less fuel than the plane they replace.

Another important change is digital. Each new generation of aircraft, like the giant Fitbit, can collect more data using sensors and circuits that track the condition of the aircraft from nose to tail.

For example, on certain flights, airlines can calculate the amount of carbon they emit and the components of the plane that need attention on arrival.

As the proportion of modern aircraft in an airline fleet increases, so does the amount of data available. And planes are only contributing to the increased flow of information.

“The world is clearly changing and planes are undoubtedly providing more and more information,” said Vincent Capezzuto, chief technology officer of Aireon, an aircraft tracking and surveillance company. Although the new broadcast tracking signal is flight-specific, it provides useful information for air navigation services and airport arrival planning to help manage traffic flow in the air and at the airport.

In one novel application, Aireon was hired by the FAA to monitor everything. Boeing 737 Max Flight to capture anomalies for analysis. This corresponds to Max’s nearly two-year ground contact following two fatal collisions. Max resumed service at the end of 2020. (Some planes this month Potential electrical problems.. )

To show how fast it is changing, Kevin Michaels, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory, an aerospace consultancy, points to the latest Airbus airliner, the A350. Typically, you record 800 megabytes of data per flight. The Airbus A380, the world’s largest airliner, launched in 2007, can only offer half of it.

“There is much more data available and the algorithms are better,” says Michaels.

With new technology, Delta is now creating apps for tablets such as Flight Weather Viewer to prevent pilots from flying in eddy. First released in 2016, it has been updated over the years as new features become available.

Launched in 2018, the company’s Flight Family Communication app allows all employees working on a particular flight to communicate with each other, from ground crews to flight crews. One of the best uses of the new data is to predict when a part will fail and be proactive in maintenance, said John Rafter, chief operating officer of the airline. say.

“I’ve been with Delta since 1993, and almost everything I’ve done since then has been negative,” he said. “We will fail, and we will ask,” How do you fix it? ” “

Today, Laughter states that “data scientists are looking at data,” allowing them to schedule previously unplanned and potentially disruptive repairs.

Malaysian AirAsia executives say it’s important to prevent delays as their business model relies on planes that spend less than 25 minutes at airport gates. Since 10 different entities are involved in dispatching flights, anything that slows the progress of one of them can cause a series of delays.

AirAsia was able to find a slight reduction in fuel and labor costs by applying artificial intelligence to the data it collected, said Javed Malik, Group Chief Operating Officer of the airline. “At the end of the year, that could save millions.”

Still, many airlines find it difficult to keep up with the vast amount of information.

“Airlines and aircraft are like oil rigs in the ocean,” said Yann Cabaret, vice president of strategy, products and marketing for SITA, a technology non-profit organization owned by the aviation industry. “And their data is like crude oil. They can’t do much with it. They need people and skills to refine that data so that they can get value from it. I will. “

It’s not that airlines haven’t adopted new technologies in the past.

Computer reservation systems, for example, were state-of-the-art when they began in the 1960s. But even 60 years later, airlines are still looking for ways to sell tickets and other products with the pizzas that web-savvy shoppers expect. The pace of rapid change can create hurdles.

“IT vendors are trapped in older systems that have designed specific applications,” said Frederic Sutter, head of a data sharing platform called Skywise from Airbus. “When we needed to mix different data from different systems, the industry wasn’t ready to do so.”

To solve this problem, Airbus began selling access to Skywise’s cloud-based platform to its customers in 2017. The platform allows you to share information about planes, suppliers and components with other airlines.

130 airlines, including AirAsia, will upload anonymized data to the platform “to be able to compare it to the entire fleet,” Satter said.

Even Airbus is a beneficiary. “The collected and shared data allows us to validate our designs and prepare for the next generation of aircraft,” he said. If the report from the fleet shows an unexpected problem, the company can start planning design changes as needed.

Global companies such as Airbus, Google and IBM have found a potentially lucrative market for selling technical services to airlines. This is what McKinsey & Company’s partner Vik Krishnan calls the travel sector an “obsolete” system because the career has been around for a century.

New airlines like AirAsia are agnostic to their history. The current owner bought it in 2001 when he was only five years old. After adding long-haul airlines and acquiring several partner regional airlines, the company integrated heterogeneous data and Malik said, “A connected ecosystem.”

All information is under one roof so that airlines can use passenger biometrics such as fingerprints and facial recognition not only for airport security and boarding, but also for purchasing products at AirAsia. I wanted it to be accessible and visible across departments. E-commerce platform. The use of this technology can cause privacy issues that governments need to address.

“These are different and different technologies. Payments and biometrics need to work seamlessly in the background to give our customers a great experience,” Malik said.

In 2018, AirAsia partnered with Google to become one of the first airlines to move data to the cloud, followed by more. Earlier this year, Delta and IBM announced a deal to move both customer and in-house apps to the public cloud while working on a strategy to handle growing aircraft information.

Dee Waddell, IBM’s Global Managing Director of Travel and Transportation, said:

But as we step further into the digital era, airlines are learning that being part of big data is not without its drawbacks, and that the burden of managing everything is one of them.

The new plane provides airlines with a pile of useful data

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