After a difficult year for commercial aviation, 2022 will provide an opportunity to look ahead and profit from technological advances. Rob Mater, vice president of aerospace and defense industry at IFS, examines three key trends that will define commercial aviation in 2022.
Last year, there was a backlog in commercial aviation in returning to full-fledged work as pandemic pressure led to passenger fluctuations, staffing complications, and day-to-day operational tensions and unpredictability. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), this year has seen some recovery since 2020, this year the typical number of passengers has halved and potential revenue of $ 324 billion has been lost.
Thus, 2022 will be defined as a year of recovery, consolidation and optimism – it is projected that this year will fly 47% more passengers, and profits for airlines are recovering. However, as the last two years have shown, airlines, maintenance, repair and overhaul companies (MROs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) cannot be complacent – and instead need to be far-sighted and flexible to get an education and succeed in tomorrow’s market.
1. Cloud becomes king for MRO – airlines are moving to cloud technology as market share of legacy aircraft maintenance systems declines from 37% to 21% by 2027
First, let’s take a serious look at the existing software infrastructure. Many airline operators and MROs still use outdated software, which not only negatively affects efficiency, but also prevents real fleet surveillance. A recent ARC study found that the industry is ready for change: “With the general trend of major carriers to move to broader MRO solutions at the enterprise level, this should enable those providers whose MRO solutions meet these core enterprise requirements to replace obsolete MRO systems that currently used by these operators. ”
As airlines begin to see technology as the key to their recovery plans, central to this search is the latest aviation maintenance software. Why? Because it will unleash the potential for efficiency gains that will better manage fleet configurations, upgrade and streamline maintenance planning, and standardize airline operations reporting to provide insight across the cost chain.
Cloud solutions also allow for large-scale MRO operations around the world for any airline to save time and costs. These factors, in turn, improve financial visibility, increase efficiency and save money – and the good news is that large-scale digital restructuring or major IT investments may not be necessary to unlock these benefits. .
2. Prognostic maintenance is becoming a staple for airlines – this year 15% of major airlines will invest in preventive maintenance
Truly predictable maintenance will come of age, and its adoption will be a key factor in the digital transformation of the aviation industry during 2022. Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that only 10% of leading airlines had implemented a forecasting service program. IFS recently conducted research in this area during a webinar on the aviation industry, and when asked which aspect of digital transformation will lead to the highest return on investment, the main answer chosen almost half of the respondents were predicting.
Using multi-variable predictive maintenance algorithms based on advanced artificial intelligence (AI) – the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the airline or MRO can in turn collect accurate real-time information about the status of each on-board system and each sensor. -connected component in their fleet. This practice is well established for engines, relatively stand-alone units that can increase performance efficiency by 30% compared to traditional analytics methods and allows the maintenance team to safely and efficiently service and maintain aircraft components, maximizing their service life and minimizing downtime. .
Aside from the fact that it is simply an application to engines, another new trend is shifting from developed algorithms to advanced machine learning models for AI training, leading to better results in more aviation systems. IFS is already piloting this predictive approach with Icelandair as the airline develops a strategy to be able to see maintenance forecasts down to the serial number of its aircraft components. When analyzing data templates, it can be seen that a separate part is expected to fail over time. This information is then noticeably passed to the Icelandair planning team or maintenance control for further action.
Using the predictive maintenance capabilities offered by AI, one can predict maintenance to better predict failures and allow scheduling required maintenance when convenient. This will have benefits not only in terms of efficiency, but will also lead to passenger satisfaction and profits as more and more flights fly on time. I expect these types of programs to become much more prevalent in airlines next year and beyond.
3. The FAA will give Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) commercial aircraft the green light this year, paving the way for a market that will grow sevenfold by 2035
Another key point in 2022 is the emergence of electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOL), which stimulates the growth of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). Deloitte recently announced that its emergence will be transformative and extremely lucrative: by 2035, it will become a $ 115 billion industry and employ 280,000 people in the north. AAM will open a new era of delivery of goods and cargo, as well as short and regional commercial trips and commuting trips. This will include the use of technologies such as drones and electric or hydrogen eVTOL, which can serve destinations in the city from suburban airfields and hubs.
AAM is gaining momentum both privately and publicly, and investment is growing. NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have launched a joint national campaign, AAM, to promote a positive story of promoting public opinion and explore issues to make sure the technology is “safe, sustainable, affordable and affordable”. The first FAA certificates for companies producing commercial aircraft such as AAM are expected later this year.
AAM will give many benefits to the operators that receive it. This will not only stimulate a sustainable revolution in aviation, but will also create a more cohesive and advanced ecosystem that will allow the use of a single software or service to manage these assets from design and production, through operations to maintenance.
Next-generation technologies will help create new opportunities and growth
This year, the aviation industry will finally return to almost after pandemic normalcy as the number of flights and passengers increases. This will be combined with increasing pressure on the sector, which requires the modernization and use of digitization and new technologies, which will pave the way for increased efficiency and better use of aircraft through intelligent intelligence.
New opportunities are also emerging in the sector due to the impending growth of AAM, which will quickly reschedule air travel over the next decade. It will not challenge traditional aviation, but will instead be symbiotic and offer airlines, MROs and OEMs opportunities to discover and develop in a new market segment.
By prioritizing operators of new technologies and digital initiatives, OEMs and MROs can not just recover from a pandemic, but by laying themselves on a solid foundation, grow and thrive in the aviation sector for decades to come.