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Skywise: a look at the new digital alliance between Airbus and Delta for cross-fleet predictive maintenance solutions

Romain Guillot in London
31/10/2019 | 632 words
Skywise: a look at the new digital alliance between Airbus and Delta for cross-fleet predictive maintenance solutions
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This was one of the key announcements during MRO Europe exhibition's opening in London on October 16. Airbus and Delta Air Lines revealed that they have formed a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance services together based on Airbus's Skywise platform. One major element is that these new services will be "cross-fleet", which means that they will also cover aircraft types that are not produced by the European aircraft manufacturer, and particularlyBoeing commercial aircraft. The fruits of this new partnership, which has been named "Predictive maintenance services powered by Skywise", will be offered to third-party airlines from next year.

"This new alliance will provide a great deal of value to the health monitoring and predictive maintenance ecosystem, and that will help our customers operate in a more consistent and unified way", said Norman Baker, SVP Head of Digital Solutions at Airbus when this partnership was announced. Airbus Services will be providing its Skywise digital platform (data hosting and integration, algorithms, application bricks such as Skywise Reliability Services, Skywise Health Monitoring and so on). For its part, Delta will be providing its significant operational knowledge as an airline, but also as an MRO provider (Delta TechOps), both for aircraft and their engines and systems.

"We want to really capitalise on the investment that Airbus has made in its Skywise platform and in its data analysis algorithms", said Don Mitacek, SVP Technical Operations at Delta TechOps. He also reminded those present that the airline had been working on predictive maintenance for its fleet for three years. "Predictive maintenance enabled us to avoid 2000 delays and cancellations last year, while lowering our costs per flight-hour", he specified. Remember that in addition to its sizeable Airbus fleet (nearly 300 aircraft from the A220, A320, A330/A330neo and A350 families), the American airline also flies over 500 Boeing aircraft (717, 737NG, 757, 767 and 777).

An alliance which is set to expand

Rémi Maillard, SVP Airbus Services, said that he felt that it made sense for the two players to share their digital knowledge and skills. "We had the Skywise platform and our predictive solutions and it seemed natural to us to share our data, along with our predictive maintenance algorithms", he explained to us. "We think that by sharing this data and these capabilities we will be able to develop better predictive maintenance algorithms which will enable us to seek out performance gains and go far beyond operational reliability", he continued. In short, "We'll be developing new algorithms with Delta, using the data that we'll be sharing, all on the Skywise platform and these new solutions will be marketed by Airbus Services".

But the part of this alliance which covers engines and systems may also have significant returns for all of the services proposed by the aircraft manufacturer. "Engines and systems are a natural extension for the digital part, but this is also true for the physical part of the services. We are investing a lot in FHS services and our clear ambition is to become a one-stop shop, with integrated services for the whole aicraft, nose-to-tail, for components, engines and the airframe all at the same time". He continues: "We want to commit to airlines on a maintenance cost which will be defined and as low as possible" .

But Rémi Maillard also told us that this alliance was just at its beginning and that it could expand in the future. "We see Skywise as an open platform and we would be delighted to welcome in new players. The more we share data the more able we will be to develop algorithms that have a purpose for airlines and which will be able to generate more and more value", he emphasised.

Romain Guillot
Chief editor
Cofounder of Journal de l'Aviation and Alertavia

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