Blog Supplement

Intelligent Technology in
Logistics and Transportation

Airline Data Capture, Analytics,
and Prescriptive Actions

Maintaining fleets of aircraft requires several components, including flight operations performance monitoring, monitoring for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) systems and parts, and Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) providers. Unlike industries such as trucking, aircraft maintenance requires each component of every aircraft to be monitored during its service. Managing and monitoring each of these systems can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Using the IoT, data can now be sent to a central database, and a digital ledger can be created for each aircraft. This would save substantial time and costs and allow more effective monitoring and preventative maintenance.

Real Life Applications

  • FAA NextGen Air Traffic Control is a program developed by the Federal Aviation Administration that moves ground data transmissions to a satellite-based infrastructure to improve communications and air traffic in the U.S. NextGen works in conjunction with the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) system, the FAA Air Traffic Management digital network. NextGen centralizes data by combining and replacing multiple systems that collect information on weather, radar, flight paths, flight planners, voice and pilot communications. The result is improved tracking and management of air traffic.The logistic company FedEx is currently using NextGen at one of their airport hubs. They have seen significant reduction in flight time and delays, and are saving over $1 million per month in fuel costs. Systems such as this can provide benefits to the entire National Airspace System.

  • Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 787s - All planes are connected to a wireless aircraft network and transmit real-time IoT data on performance and maintenance functions. Despite the initial investment, Virgin is already realizing benefits.

  • KLM - This airline utilized the Netherland's KPN LoRa public network for their tracking app to access the location of airline maintenance equipment in real time on their mobile devices.

  • Rolls Royce - The engine manufacturer built a system to diagnose potential faults in engines used in aircraft. Data from aircraft sensors on air traffic control, engine health, fuel usage, and route restrictions from around the world can be monitored and analyzed to detect possible faults.

  • EasyJet - This discount airline uses specialized drones equipped with electro-optical, light detection and ranging sensors to inspect its planes for lightening strike damage. The drones collect data using high-resolutions 4K cameras and laser imaging to create minute detail of the aircraft's surface. Traditional manual operations with several inspectors can take a day or more, but can be completed in just a few hours with these pre-programmed drones. In addition, safety risks for inspectors are mitigated by eliminating the need for a person on elevated areas of the aircraft.

  • Delta Airlines - Delta Airlines now offers GPS tracking for pets on board. Providing real-time data on temperature, humidity, and location, owners can check on their pets during a flight.