Optimising Predictive Maintenance for Airlines

Optimising Predictive Maintenance for Airlines

As the chief operating officer, what are the different kinds of challenges that you see in the aviation space today?

There are two main challenges in the aviation industry; the environmental challenges that existed before the pandemic, like the noise and emissions caused by the aircraft, and the more recent operational challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic reinstated the importance of the aviation sector in global mobilisation. Although travel rates suffered a huge blow, we continued running our business to respond to the circumstantial as well as the environmental challenges by improving our operations and modernising our fleet.

“From a technical point of view, we aim to improve our performance with the help of predictive maintenance, with trends like big data and artificial intelligence (AI).”

We are responding to the environmental challenge by modernizing our fleet with the entry into service of 5 brand new A330 neos and by equipping our aircraft with new technologies to achieve fuel economy. We have also phase out older aircraft like the 747-400. The A330 neos bring 25 percent improvement in fuel consumption, a 60% reduction in noise pollution. 

Better fuel consumption, in turn, can result in fewer emissions than the previous generation of aircraft and cause less noise pollution. Sustainable aviation fuel, however, can be 4 to 5 times more expensive than traditional fuels. Hence, this is a challenge for the sector and we introduce it gradually.

Data analytics, on the other hand, is a solid response to the operational challenges, along with the environmental issues, because the more we optimise how we manage our aircraft fleet operations and the lesser we consume fuel, the smarter we manoeuvre our services despite global crises.

Embracing these projectsis not as easy as it sounds. Besides financial constraints, there’s heavy change management involved in reaching the goal. That doesn’t mean we should not strive towards it; meaningful innovation is the key to making it happen smoothly and efficiently.

What are some new trends you see in the industry today?And while managing your fleet, how do you optimisepredictive maintenance and big data processes?

From a technical point of view, we aim to improve our performance with the help of predictive maintenance, by riding on the bandwagon of big data and artificial intelligence (AI). As a result, we have introduced Skywise, a platform developed by Airbus and Palantir. It uses predictive maintenance to improve how we operate and manage our fleet and save maintenance and operational costs, all while increasing passenger safety. The platform is also able to foresee a tentative timeline of a failure, prompting us to take action and fix that part immediately. That is key to achieving an extremely high level of dispatch reliability.

Do you have any advice for any leader trying to go through a similar transformation in their own company and improve their processes?

Passenger safety has always been and will always be our priority, so all changes must be compliant with regulations to ensure just that. Aviation companies should be open-minded, and your passengers should be at the forefront of internal and external changes.

Since we are dealing with change, the resources and human capital of the company is equally critical, and an evolving organisation should not only depend on operational procedures but also on the initiative of individuals. Companies also need people with skills and eagerness to grow their proficiencies. Everyone needs to have an open mind, so they look forward to and anticipate new challenges in the company. Everyone needs to take full responsibility for their contribution.


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