For aviation companies, being confident of the status of any activity, transaction, or event is critical for the continuity of operations and safety. Maintenance Operations have significant levels of complexity and variability, which can create gaps in understanding that lead to inefficiencies and aircraft delays.
Having a single source of truth for each maintenance event—where all the details on the aircraft, work, and parts can be shared among all stakeholders in real time, regardless of their location—can expedite an aircraft’s return to service. A platform can cut through complexities, helping MTX teams address events more efficiently to keep aircraft flying.
In 1969, when the 747 took its first flight and before this epic widebody aircraft entered service, fewer than 5,000 aircraft were in the global fleet—closer to 3,000.
The same analog tools and paper-based processes which maintained the fleet of the 70s are still part of everyday maintenance practices.
Today, the people working with primarily analog tools maintain an overall global fleet of over 28,000 aircraft, as reported by analysts at CH-Aviation, as of September last year. Fewer than 24,000 were active, and nearly 5,000 were grounded. The grounded fleet is larger than the active global fleet of 1969/1970.
Why is this fact critical when considering the tools needed to manage the global fleet in the coming years?
Many of these aircraft groundings resulted from the COVID-19 shutdown, and they will need to return to service as air travel demand recovers. MTX teams must manage major maintenance to return those aircraft to flight-ready conditions. As of September 2022, despite challenges, they had already done a stellar job of catching up.
“We have seen a 5% rise in active aircraft compared to the same month last year and a 27% increase in active aircraft compared to September 2020,” CH-Aviation.
But how can they meet that demand without new tools to help them collaborate smarter? We can expect more severe and costly disruptions unless the jet-age leaders quickly catch up with the digital age.
Many maintenance processes are still manual, relying on paper checklists and documents and imperfect methods of communication, such as faxes, telephone calls, or email. These methods become a knowledge sieve, allowing critical information to fall through the cracks. Misunderstandings or lack of awareness on the status of a part or what work to perform on an aircraft can cause costly delays.
For regulatory reasons, aviation still relies on paper documentation, including maintenance manuals and checklists. While there is a rationale for this hard-copy recordkeeping, the maintenance communication and collaboration process could be digitized.
Aviation is moving toward a digital future. Introducing aircraft health management (AHM) systems will require an adequate interface to alert the maintenance crew of problems in flight. Flight crew now have digital flight bags, saving volumes of pages in hard-copy manuals. Cabin crew are assigned PEDs to manage their cabin service duties. Maintenance teams should not be left behind.
As an industry, aviation must embrace digital solutions that offer a single reliable source of truth to guide decision-making. Aviation can empower human resources and optimize their limited time by acting on accurate information. Flight safety must always remain the top priority, so digital tools must be compliance-ready, compatible with existing systems, easy to adopt, and accessible to all. Digital tools should enhance current processes by addressing the communication gaps that lead to misunderstandings, missing parts, and, ultimately, aircraft delays.
The Beacon platform reduces the time required for pre- and post-maintenance alignment, with contextualized information available immediately, helping to cut wasted time and resources.
Optimized processes, through more efficient communication exchange, make it easier for MTX teams to focus on the fix. Having the correct information in the proper context—immediately and throughout the aircraft maintenance event—can ensure an aircraft spends less time on the ground.
Waiting for stakeholders to pick up the phone, send a fax, or answer an email won’t help MTX teams keep up with today’s flight demands or the growth projected for the aviation industry over the coming decades.
Take the first step toward a single source of truth in context to keep flying. Learn more about the Beacon platform and schedule a demo.