Top 5 Take-aways from Aerospace Big Data London

The second Aerospace Big Data London conference took place November 28-29, 2018. In this short overview we have pulled out the top five themes from this conference.

1. Disruption and its financial impact on aviation

The cost of disruption to airlines is on the rise. In a recent study undertaken by PA Consulting and Cirium it was calculated at $30 billion annually. The percentage caused by maintenance requirements as stated by Cirium’s Jez Bowen is 10%. Alireza Mousavi from Brunel University stated that the industry currently wants to minimize the disruption caused by sudden breakdowns. However, he stated that to make good strategic decisions you need information that you can trust. On day two, Janite Parmanande from TAP AirPortugal referenced Jez Bowen’s points on disruption. Although, he went on to add that a digital transformation strategy to prevent disruption needs to come from the senior leaders within an airline. Therefore, if maintenance is 10% of the total cost then it is harder to gain buy in for investment as leaders are focusing on the higher priority areas.

2. Big data is a ‘swarm’ of innovation

Caroline Gorski from Rolls Royce’s presentation on the ‘intelligent engine’ stood out. The talk referenced their vision of ‘Deliver the dreams of the next generation of passengers’. Through the investment in R2 Data Labs it is clear that Rolls-Royce are developing some fantastic pieces of technology, most notably the micro robots that can be deployed inside the engine to find faults. The impact of this innovation could be that when fully deployed, engines will spend less time off the wing and more time in the air, therefore helping to save the airlines money.

3. Aging aircraft and their impact on the aftermarket

It’s important to remember that today, 44% of aircraft are 10 or more years old. These airframes are often not fitted with the same amount of sensors as a new generation aircraft and therefore data cannot be extracted as easily. Pedro Figuiera from Portugalia Airline explained that until the Embraer 190 came into service they were only able to extract data from the Fokker 100 and Embraer 145 on a weekly basis. Now they can do this every 3 days giving them a much more in-depth view of activity.

4. Who owns or controls the data is still a debate

The debate continues from Aerospace Big Data 2017 about ownership. Lucy England, a Senior Associate at global law firm Bird & Bird, stated that legally nobody owns the data, the question should be who is in control/possession of the data? The two main OEMs on the panel – Nick Ward, Rolls-Royce and Matthew Evans, Airbus – immediately stated that the data should be the responsibility of the airline. This thought was disagreed with by Jan Stoevesand, Lufthansa Group. Jan stated they had to be specific about data ownership and broke this down into “control, choice and competition”.

5. Swim in the lake with caution

Day one Rolls-Royce’s Nick Ward stated “be careful about jumping into a data lake as you don’t know if there are sharks in the water”. A memorable and relatable analogy to many people who work with big data. In addition, Caroline Gorski, Rolls-Royce stated 70 – 80% of their time in any analytics project is spent cleaning the data. The take-away? As new processes are being implemented, there is still room for continual improvement.

These are five snippets from a conference provided insight on the state of big data in aviation. Read the Big Data white paper for more insights.

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