04 Feb 2017

A Two-Step Approach to Modernizing Airline Maintenance Systems

Aviation – whether commercial, civil, or defense – is a highly-regulated industry. After all, airlines and other aviation industry players are in the business of ensuring the safety and even the lives of their passengers. They are required to comply with numerous safety standards from local bodies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and international agencies like the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Aside from safety regulations, aviation companies also have to comply with various health and environmental standards such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act.

Because of the highly-regulated nature of the industry, airline maintenance IT systems are designed to be compliant with various standards. However, for over forty years, their maintenance IT systems have been keeping up with their other needs – such as maintenance, repairs, and overhaul (MRO) – using software patches. For example, some airlines are still using middleware solutions to create Big Data analytics repositories instead of investing in new systems which already have built-in Big Data analytics capabilities. In addition, most legacy systems do not support web interfaces and mobility, which are essential features for modern maintenance processes.

While airlines and other aviation companies recognize the benefits of new technologies especially for MRO, their need to stay compliant with regulations as effectively and efficiently as their legacy systems has become an obstacle to modernization. This can be overcome using a two-step process:

Step one: Merge data from legacy systems with new maintenance systems through digitization.

According to Inside MRO, 90% of aircraft maintenance records remain paper-based. While airlines have already created an effective paper-based system of complying with regulatory standards, digitizing these records can only lead to massive compliance improvements. Airlines have to go through millions of boxes of documents just to find the right information whereas digitization can enable easy data discovery. Digitization also ensures that information from different sources, whether paper or computer-based, will be consolidated in a single system.

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Source : Dinakara Nagalla President & CEO at EmpowerMX

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