Thursday, February 6, 2020

Guest Column AI, drones and sustainability in commercial aviation? We’ve done the talking, 2020 is a time for action

Here Graham Grose, Vice President and Industry Director, Aerospace and Defense, IFS, believes that 2020 heralds a time for action in three key areas if commercial aviation operators and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organizations are to keep pace in this competitive and evolving market landscape into the next decade.

Complex, new generation aircraft has resulted in increased volumes of data for airline maintenance teams to manage. This large volume of information now being produced from engineering, manufacturing, operations and maintenance departments represents a challenge when it comes to manually generate specific work order tasks for technicians. This is where AI holds much promise to streamline operations, and will need to be reinforced by drone-supported inspections which have the potential to cover several maintenance tasks in significantly less time than technicians.
While maximising efficiencies and digitally evolving is not a new challenge for airlines and fleet operators, it must not be forgotten that using the latest technology to manage customer expectations needs to be balanced with meeting industry sustainability targets.
Here are three actions commercial aviation operators and MROs must take to get the balance right in 2020.
1.       Adopt AI and ML– it will transform predictive maintenance strategies
Put simply, the goal for commercial airlines is to keep customers happy. This means ensuring flights remain on schedule and flight delays and cancellations arefew and far between. But with the amount of aircraft airlines have within their fleets – as well as a huge variety of models –when hiccups occur, getting to the bottom of why can be like finding needles in haystacks.It is for this reason that integrating AI into predictive maintenance will be critical in the next 12 months and beyond.
For large-fleet commercial operators and aviation MRO providers alike, AI is now an essential tool. AI technology is expanding as a decision-making tool in the form of intelligent agents for data modelling and simulation. This means the arduous task of ingesting, aggregating and analyzing raw data transmitted from aircraft being shortened thanks to this increased digitization.
Recent examples of airlines such as Delta and MROs such as Lufthansa Industry Solutions working on adopting AI and machine learning (ML) into their aircraft maintenance strategies highlight the transition organisations are already making towards digital and predictive-focused maintenance strategies. The reduced maintenance technician and engineering labor hours spent on aggregation and analysis of data makes these intelligent maintenance strategies particularly desirable.
At last year’s IFS World Conference, it was interesting to hear Rolls-Royce discuss its high expectations for the accuracy of its own predictive analytics strategy. The airline, which selected IFS Maintenix for exchanging engine data with airlines operating its Trent engines last year, targets a 100 percent success rate in terms of ensuring they never miss something they are looking for, at the same time as zero false predictions, which can be just as disruptive to its service.
Nick Ward, Head of OEM Digital Solutions, Rolls-Royce, explained,“We have a sophisticated simulation engine which looks across our entire fleet.It looks at all the risk drivers attached to engines within that fleet—things that might force the engine off the wing. We simulate those engines through their lives against different scenarios, different kinds of operating profiles that might be flown. We get a very accurate – greater than 90% accuracy – on exactly when any given engine is likely to be forced off wing.”
2.       Stay alert to drone technology– it will soon be a part of daily MRO
Passenger drones are very much a longer-term concept in commercial aviation and we won’t be seeing commercial passengers transported by drones in 2020, but drone-supported inspections is a very real possibility.
Last year there were notable examples of aviation providers testing drone technology, including AAR who recently tested fully automated Donecle drone technology integration for inspections.This is an increasingly attractive prospect for commercial aviation operators because drones can conduct end-to-end visual inspections in under an hour—whereas manual inspections typically take up to six. One complete drone scan covers several maintenance tasks, and they are now being programmed to detect structural damage and assess paint quality, markings and signs of lightning strikes.
Barriers to the adoption of drone technology in inspections include certification and ensuring devices are stable enough to capture precise images. Laser technology will, however, help yield accurate images –onboard sensors can sense the drone’s environment and position the device with accuracy down to centimeters – and if drones gain ull certification for use in commercial aviation McKinsey projects, the market could be a staggering$46 billion business segment by 2026.
…and help address the skills shortage
Drone technology will help organisations digitally transform and drive customer satisfaction, but its growing influence in operations also has a wider benefit of addressing the shortage of skilled maintenance technicians in the commercial aviation sector. It will be up to commercial aviation operators and MROs to keep pace with developments in drone-supported aviation this year to benefit fromthe time and labor resources that can be saved using this technology.
3.       Sustainability targets must now be considered a priority
This year it is expected we will see record numbers of over 4.7 billion passengers scheduled to fly, a 137 percent increase from 2004, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts passenger numbers could reach over eight billion by 2037. But one of the biggest challenges as a result of this growing desire to fly is the environmental impact this is having, and substantial solutions will bein demand to tackle emissions and help airlines reduce their carbon footprint.
CORSIA, a plan from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to achieve carbon-neutral growth for aviation from 2020, highlights the increased focus on how our use of fossil fuels is shaping our future, while flygskam or “flight shaming”, a movement across Europe encouraging people to stop taking flights as a means of transport is another example of the pressure on the industry to improve its green credentials. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is already helping fuel some flights today–last year KLM committed itself for a 10-year period to the development and purchase of 75,000 tonnes of SAF a year– but production must dramatically increase if IATA is to achieve its aim of one billion passengers to have flown on a sustainable aviation fuel-blend flight by 2025.
Fleets made up of lighter, fully electrified aircraft may be some way off, but last year we did see the unveiling of a prototype of the first commercial all-electric passenger aircraft in the form “Alice”, designed and constructed by Israeli firm Aviation. Alice is set to enter service in 2022, but regional airline and IFS customer Cape Air’s“double-digit” order of the new aircraft technology demonstrates the shift airlines are now making to address climate change.
It will become more critical for carriers to implement a fleet renewal program which sees older, gas-heavy jets replaced with newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft to achieve near-term sustainability targets. Route optimization will also grow in importance for airlines—they will need to make every effort to ensure they are providing the most direct and fuel-efficient journeys possible for their customers.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
In some ways the next 12 months involve putting the building blocks in place for the increasingly technological and environmentally-conscious world of commercial aviation. While previously the use of AI in maintenance strategies, testing drone-supported aviation MRO and focusing on sustainable and efficient fleet strategies may have seemed like buzzwords for organizations to show they are progressive, these are actions that must be top of mind for airlines into the next decade.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Fitting into Jet Airways Shoes

Neelam Mathews
Oct 2019

Filling the Gap Civil and Mil

Nov 21  2019

Neelam  Mathews

To all my dear friends

Thank you for bearing up with me these fast months and actually calling to ask re my missing posts.

No reason-just procrastination for which I willmake up immediately.

Some reason posts with links.
Love you all. Thank you!

Opinion-Future-proofing A&D manufacturing for Industry 4.0

A checklist for manufacturers to ensure they take advantage of the benefits of Industry 4.0 

ndustry 4.0 has finally reached A&D manufacturing and according to Deloitte ‘Aerospace & Defense 4.0’ is going to be the key to unlocking future competitiveness. There is a clear and compelling case for A&;D manufacturers to leverage 4.0 technologies and incorporate digital transformation throughout their organizations, but adapting business processes may seem a daunting task, particularly for tier two and three organizations.

The benefits of Industry 4.0 for A&D manufacturers are enormous but involve critical decisions on digital investments and an increasingly cyber-aware ecosystem. Here, Evan Butler-Jones, Director, Defense Product Line, Aerospace & Defense Business Unit, IFS, explores how A&D manufacturers can ensure they extract value from Industry 4.0 to stay competitive into the next decade and keep their business processes connected, configurable, intelligent and secure. That means getting the building blocks in place with a forward-looking software platform for such future-proofing initiatives. 
In a recent report Deloitte defines ‘Aerospace & Defense 4.0’ as the application of Industry 4.0 technologies for developing new cost-effective products and services, making existing products smarter using sensors and connectivity, and leveraging advanced manufacturing processes. A&D manufacturer BAE Systems has been using these principles in its New Product and Process Development Centre since 2017, where 3D printing and virtual reality technology are used to reduce costs and speed up manufacturing processes for combat aircraft. Still, this may seem like a daunting task for many A&D manufacturers, particularly those tier two and three companies that play a vital supporting role in the manufacturing ecosystem but lack large manpower and monetary resources. 
This really doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, IFS customer TEST-FUCHS is already seeing the real benefits of a dedicated digital twin approach for the ground support assets and test equipment it manufacturers, implemented as part of a company-wide push for digital transformation. Here I pinpoint four key areas, as well as some helpful feedback we hear across our A&D manufacturing client base, all of which highlight where the right software can help A&D manufacturers deliver on an Aerospace & Defense 4.0 strategy and future-proof their business. 
1. Connectivity – “Connecting outside our four factory walls is as important as any new feature we get in software”
The significance of the digital thread as a communication network is huge in scale and consequently in importance. It enables a connected flow of data and an integrated view of an asset across its lifetime through various isolated functional perspectives, through multiple factory walls. According to LNS Research, the digital thread can increase supply chain efficiency by 16% and reduce the time required to take a product to market.
Alongside these digital initiatives, more manufacturers have realized revenue gains by extending asset management into the field to supply and service customer assets. This brings in service-based contracts with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which must be met, and the best way to manage these contracts is by providing a suitable mobile platform for field workers and data feedback from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This means A&D manufacturers need to rely heavily on their supporting enterprise software in order to provide this level of connectivity.
Open frameworks, instant collaboration
The right software tools can help them connect to this increasingly digital supply chain ecosystem by offering seamless interoperability with other solutions, either through an open integration framework or through pre-built solutions which meet specific government or industry integration standards. 
With servitization-based business models becoming commonplace among A&D manufacturers, new direct customer connectivity requirements are opened up—right down to IoT, customer systems, in-house Customer Relationship Management and connectivity with third party contractors who may be carrying out repairs on assets in the field. This means supporting enterprise software must be geared to connect these field-based requirements, with specific asset and service management functionalities bringing these various data streams together. 
2. Configurability – “Every contract has new requirements. We’re running a dozen different models and we need our IT to support that”
High-level manufacturing research from Deloitte shows more than 50% of customers indicate interest in purchasing custom products or services. In the A&D sector this is even more prevalent, with manufactured parts and assets performing highly specific roles in often unique military and aerospace projects. We see A&D customers becoming more demanding in terms of delivery schedules and customization. In response to this, it is becoming a key differentiator for A&D manufacturers to have a wide range of project capabilities, who now have to operate on multiple projects for every customer, each with their own complexities. Reacting to these customer requirements means being as agile as possible. If inflexible incumbent software cannot adapt to these new demands this can result in long delays. 
Agile capabilities across the business start from the inside
Accepting a customer order and then finding out you don’t have the functionality available to implement and manage the contract can lead to lengthy delays and loss of business. The key to remaining agile to react to specific customer requests is having a broad functional capability from within the enterprise software you deploy. This should include fundamental manufacturing capabilities and flexible financial controls—particularly around the complexities of the assets in A&D, such as project-driven work and managing quality. 
Then configure, don’t customize
But once A&D manufacturers know they have a complete set of functionalities they can rely on, they need to make sure they can deploy them in a modular approach when required, and configure them to adapt to both unique customer requirements and internally-driven lean initiatives—this is the difference between customization and configuration. This could mean configuring separate screens and interfaces for executives at the top level of the business looking at overall performance, and the engineers logging granular information into the software daily. But here companies can also take advantage of new technologies to introduce new Industry 4.0 manufacturing processes into the factory—such as additive manufacturing machines with their specialized requirements for material control and process monitoring. The pace of technology is rapid and predicting what may be required next year isn’t possible.  In such cases, the relevant screens required to manage the new processes and statistics may not exist yet, but the tools within the software to quickly and easily create them should be there!
3. Intelligence – “We made a big leap forward when we went live. Now we need to keep evolving”
A&D products produce vast amounts of information—for example the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine generates four million data points on every flight. Less complex systems generate less data, but at all levels the value of telemetry is well proven.  A&D companies should leverage this information not only for designing, manufacturing and operating their products but also for developing new, smarter, business models. 
Standing still means losing out against more forward-looking competitors, particularly as connected machines become the standard, and Industry 4.0 technologies such as additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence and virtual/augmented reality mature and begin to deliver solid ROI. Witness IFS partner PTC and BAE Systems creating interactive mixed reality (MR) work instructions for Microsoft HoloLens. MR enabled BAE to train its first-line workers 30-40% more efficiently.
Adopting technology is a constant endeavor
Enterprise IT lifecycles are long-term investments that can be expected to last for decades— ‘forever ago’ in manufacturing terms! As more intelligent technology enters A&D manufacturing facilities, supporting software has to keep pace. Locking into an inflexible system for a set amount of time can mean manufacturers are caught flat-footed and unable to capitalize on new tech initiatives. 
In today’s market conditions, manufacturers should consider evergreen software built for compatibility through open integration standards. The goal should be to change IT operations from manual to automated processes, driven by intelligent software. The result is an approach where increasing technology investment is matched by software support comprised of components that are always up to date.
4. Security – “We used to be insulated from the DOD’s cyber requirements—not anymore”
One element highlighted in the Deloitte Aerospace & Defense 4.0 report was the need for A&D manufacturers to adapt to the new cybersecurity paradigm. In commercial aviation, according to PwC’s 2015 Global Airline CEO Survey, 85% of airline CEOs in the study viewed cybersecurity as a significant risk, likely reflecting the highly sensitive nature of flight systems and passenger data. 
On the defense side there are increasing security expectations from military organizations such as the U.S. Department of Defense (U.S. DOD). In fact, the U.S. DOD has just revealed plans for a set of contractor cybersecurity standards that are scheduled to be implemented by January 2020, called the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. Currently, companies supplying products and services to the U.S. DOD must meet 110 security requirements specified in NIST SP 800-171 or risk losing contract awards and new regulations are unlikely to be more lenient. Other countries have followed suit, including the UK with the Defence Information Strategy (DIS) and Australia with the Information Security Manual (ISM). The cybersecurity challenge becomes even more sensitive when combined with the proliferation of cloud-based solutions and the security implementations of access control and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
Compliance and cybersecurity flow downstream
Regulatory-compliant software can be a key differentiator when bidding for A&D manufacturing contracts. Your enterprise software should be a strategic enabler for information and cybersecurity. It should be designed from the ground up with security in mind, and address risks and threats throughout all phases of the software development lifecycle. Recent cloud infrastructure has already produced workarounds for the cloud security challenge, most notably Microsoft, which has made its Azure cloud platform ISO compliant.
A fully compliant software partner and applications that demonstrate the security of the organization means A&D manufacturers can trust they are well positioned to compete in an increasingly complex digital arena.
Foundations for Aerospace & Defense 4.0
In an Industry 4.0 world, A&D manufacturers face some critical decisions which are directly linked to business success—and they can look like an insurmountable challenge. The benefits include increased efficiency, profits and security, not to mention a highly satisfied customer base. However, these benefits can’t be realized without the support of a software facilitator, which helps put the building blocks in place for A&D manufacturers to build and execute on an Aerospace & Defense 4.0 strategy.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Indian Airlines' Fortunes Turn following Jet Airways Failure

 - May 28, 2019, 11:50 AM

A Jet Airways-configured Boeing 737-800NG now donning the SpiceJet logo prepares to taxi at Delhi International Airport. By Neelam Mathews (copyright)

India’s domestic carriers have found a temporary respite in their failing financials and capacity shortfall following the grounding of Jet Airways in mid-April. The reduced capacity and high demand in the market has provided an opportunity for domestic carriers to raise fares. The Jet shutdown has also given access to its slots at space-constrained airports, including Mumbai and Delhi.
“Guidelines mandate only airlines that add aircraft have access to those slots,”  Vishok Mansingh, director of Mumbai-based consultancy CAV Aero, told AIN. “SpiceJet and Vistara, as a result, have been quick to take Jet Airways aircraft on lease to get the slots.”
Jet’s misfortune has advantaged virtually all airlines in India. With 19 Boeing Max 8s grounded, Spicejet in the past month and a half has already inducted 13 Jet-configured Boeing 737NGs. In fact, SpiceJet plans to take over the leases on all 26 of Jet’s aircraft. Meanwhile, Tata-Singapore Airlines-owned A320 operator Vistara plans to take between 10 and 15 of Jet’s Boeing 737s on short-term lease. “This has helped in getting slots at airports,” said Mansingh. “Already, Vistara has increased its daily frequencies to five from Delhi to Bangalore.”
Following IndiGo’s earnings call early this week, CEO Ronojoy Dutta acknowledged Indian airlines have endured a tough fiscal year because of high fuel prices, a weak rupee, and an intensely competitive environment. “However, it is a tale of two halves for IndiGo, with the first half of the year incurring losses and the second half of the year experiencing a sharp recovery,” he said, attributing the improvement partially to Jet Airways’ cessation of services. “Overall for the quarter, we think that the Jet Airways failure effectively increased our unit revenue by 3- to 4 percent,” he said. “April revenues have been stronger than even March.”
Dutta said that as airlines add capacity to Jet Airways markets, its shutdown effects would dissipate by June “except in a few international markets, where we overlapped with Jet, as in the Middle East.”

Monday, May 27, 2019

Bangalore Bengaluru- who cares- Celebrating Brea

Neelam Mathews
May 27, 2019

Its been a while since I wrote a piece on lifestyle- not sure if this is a brief one on Bengaluru, Bangalore International Airport, design, management or strategy, but I do know by now, the greatest innovation of all - The Quad and BreaRoti.

Hail to the innovators who have designed this gutsy piece of community get together which very sadly will be moved by December. Can you imagine pubs and eating places outside of the airport within the premises where locals gather on weekends? What a revenue earner!

This quadrangle was empty space just outside the airport which now celebrates the cuisine, art, and heritage in a contemporary way of the IT city that has a buzz of its own. Archana, my friend and head of corp com - a very evolved lady- takes me around with pride. She knows her onions and every person who works there. This person to person connection is endearing I think.

Interestingly every shop is constructed with renewable materials that are not permanent and will not cost much when they have to be pulled down, she explains.

It is time to visit the Star of the Quad - Brea Roti - ( Bread and Roti). We order one BreaRoti with filter coffee. The result is a sinful freshly baked roll with equally sinful calories. Who would have thought a deceptive simple looking roll would generate such emotion? You'll have to try one and then feel disgusted with yourself days later when you look back and remember the need to bite into this sweetish butter filled concoction. Oh Lordy, memories are made of such experiences!!

Some visuals of The Quad

Friday, May 10, 2019

Jet Airways - a new identity?

neelam mathews
May 10 3019
7.05 pm

As the aviation world awaits the fate of Jet Airways with the last date of the bids today, we are looking at a scenario which may not have been seen by most of us.

There is no confirmation but what if-

Etihad bids with Tata group for Jet?
Think about it.
We will come back with more.