23 Nov 2020
Allowing airlines to avoid capital investment in component inventories and complex management processes with a rotable support package brings many advantages. A recent article by Aircraft Commerce, featuring Tom De Geytere our chief sales officer, takes a closer look at the use of Big Data analytics and Predictives.
Total support packages and programmes for inventories of rotable and repairable components allow airlines to avoid high capital investments and enable known and predictable maintenance costs. These total support packages are used by many airlines, but primarily to support small- and medium-sized fleets.
The article from Aircraft Commerce investigates the economics of operating a complete in-house rotable management and support programme which requires large capital investment in three main areas;
inventory of rotable and repairable components to support each fleet operated;
extensive test and repair facilities for a large number of component P/Ns of different types and categories;
investment in qualified repair technicians
Pioneering support packages
AJW was one of the first specialist parts providers to pioneer, develop and offer all-inclusive rotable support packages to airlines. AJW's support programmes are mainly for the Airbus and Boeing narrowbody families. This includes support for easyJet's fleet of 300 A320 family types. "We also have a significant presence in the widebody market, especially the A330, 767 and 777. AJW's overall rotable stocks mean it can support about 1,000 aircraft.
AJW often supports small start-up carriers with a single fleet type, as well as larger carriers with multiple fleet types. AJW based its support packages around air transport association (ATA) chapters, that relate to different aircraft systems" comments Tom De Geytere.
The assessment of the total number of rotables required to support a particular fleet of a certain size in an airline's operation is a main factor influencing the rate paid by the airline for the service.
"AJW usually asks for a fit list from the airline, as well as any removal data if they have it," says Tom De Geytere, chief sales officer at AJW. "We often ask for three years' worth of data but recognise that this is not always available. We therefore use our own data for initial stock evaluation. We are now developing an in-house inventory optimisation solution that provides granular detail."
The random nature of component malfunctions, and the difficulties and expense that they cause, can be minimised or even avoided through BD analytics and predictive maintenance, or 'Predictives'.
Several systems have been developed for BD and Predictives, and these are now being used in operation. AJW, for example, has a modern cloud-native architecture designed to process high volumes of complex data. "We leverage Snowflake as our primary database partner, perform our data extractions, transformations, and loads (referred to as ETL) with Matillion and Python, and visualisation tools. The platform allows our data and analytics engineers to deliver robust products to the business, our customers, and our vendor base as a combination of pre-packaged products, as well as self-service datasets.
"BD has therefore allowed us to offer an in-house inventory modelling software that delivers the optimum level of stock to de-risk the operation, while reducing inventory levels," adds De Geytere. "Our biggest airline customers are using BD in the predictive maintenance environment to reduce operational risk."
The use of BD and Predictives was clearly intended to make inventory management a more exact process, and remove much of the activity around reacting to component failures. The BD and Predictives process starts with downloading and processing the large volumes of component and system health data from each aircraft.
The first step for a third-party rotable support provider is therefore to acquire this data from the customer airline. This requires an interface between the IT systems of the related parties.
AJW has an extensive IT system, which has digital engineering capability with mature interfaces with its own enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Quantum, and the IT systems of its customers. AJW's integration capability is mostly developed with Swiss AMOS and SAP. It is also expanding the number of systems it interfaces with to capture all primary airline systems.
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