Digitalization in aircraft maintenance processes
Aircraft maintenance is considered as one of the major expenditures of aircraft operating costs. Notwithstanding that the new aircrafts, engines, and aircraft hard time parts became more durable and maintainable, the maintenance cost is still too high as against other costs like fuel and operational crews. Moreover, aircraft maintenance should be carried out with a high level of safety and security standards. All aircraft maintenance operations are subject to regulations by regulatory authorities. Such authorities can be attributed to European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Civil Aviation Authorities (NAA). The last two decades have become a turning point in the transition from the paper form of the introduction of accounting for aircraft maintenance technical operations into electronic systems, despite all the difficulties associated with these procedures. Such difficulties are not limited to regulatory authorities, personnel training and investment which is case-sensitive for small companies. Similar to all other sectors of logistics and transportation, digitalization can be one of the key engines of change in aviation, especially in the aviation maintenance; thus, the study of digitalization effects on aircraft maintenance processes at present is an important factor for improving the maintenance processes and reducing the cost of aircraft maintenance. The objective of this research is to define the ability of aircraft maintenance and repair organizations to transform their processes. To that end, a data collection method in the form of a survey was implemented within Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Organizations (MRO) and among aircraft maintenance engineers. The survey results demonstrate that the aircraft maintenance industry is not yet fully prepared for moving into digitalization in aircraft maintenance processes. However, at the same time, the study indicates the readiness of the personnel involved in the industry to improve themselves and their skills. The industry should invest in the improvement of safety and quality of tasks subject to digitalization by means of development of reliable software/hardware, and provide suitable training for safety and quality personnel.
Keyword : aircraft maintenance, digitalization, maintenance task, maintenance performance, survey, framework
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Acemoglu, D., & Autor, D. (2011). Skills, tasks and technologies: Implications for employment and earnings. In D. Card & O. Ashenfelter (Eds), Handbook of labor economics (chapter 12, pp. 1043–1171). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-7218(11)02410-5
Airbus. (2016). Hangar of the future. https://www.airbus.com/en/newsroom/news/2016-12-hangar-of-the-future
Alomar, I., Tolujevs, J., & Hofmann, W. (2017, June). Research of ground vehicles movement on the aerodrome using simulation. In Proceeding of 10th International Doctoral Workshop on Logistics (pp. 109–113). Magdeburg.
Arntz, M., Gregory, T., & Zierahn, U. (2019). Digitalization and the future of work: Macroeconomic Consequences (IZA DP No. 12428). IZA Institute of Labor Economics. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3411981
Bergkvist, E., & Sabbagh, T. (2021). Smart future solutions for maintenance of aircraft: Enhancing aircraft maintenance at Saab AB [Dissertation, Linköping University]. http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-176561
Bellamy, W. (2022). AAR corp embracing digital transformation, drones, and increasing demand for connectivity in commercial and military aviation. Avionics International. https://interactive.aviationtoday.com/avionicsmagazine/march-april-2022/aar-corp-embracing-digital-transformation-drones-and-increasing-demand-for-connectivity-in-commercial-and-military-aviation/
Cijan, A., Lenič, L., Lamovšek, A., & Stemberger, J. (2019). How digitalization changes the workplace. Dynamic Relationships Management Journal, 8(1), 3–12. https://doi.org/10.17708/DRMJ.2019.v08n01a01
Duc, D., Dąbrowski, K., & Skrzypek, K. (2018). The predictive maintenance concept in the maintenance department of the “Industry 4.0” production enterprise. Foundations of Management, 10(1), 283–292. https://doi.org/10.2478/fman-2018-0022
Ercan Kivanç, E., Vayvay, Ö., & Kalender, Z. T. (2021). Digital transformation approaches for aircraft maintenance operations. In Managerial issues in digital transformation of global modern corporations (pp. 145–164). ResearchGate. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-2402-2.ch011
Esposito, M., Lazoi, M., Margarito, A., & Quarta, L. (2019). Innovating the maintenance repair and overhaul phase through digitalization. Aerospace, 6(5), 53. https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6050053
European Union. (2014). Commission Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014 as of 26 November 2014 on the continuing airworthiness of aircraft and aeronautical products, parts and appliances, and on the approval of organizations and personnel involved in these tasks. Eur-Lex.
Eurofound. (2021). Employment impact of digitalisation. https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/data/digitalisation/research-digests/employment-impact-of-digitalisation
International Civil Aviation Organization. (2017). Airline operating costs and productivity. Airline economics: Costs and productivity. https://www.icao.int/mid/documents/2017/aviation%20data%20and%20analysis%20seminar/ppt3%20-%20airlines%20operating%20costs%20and%20productivity.pdf
Kuusisto, M. (2015). Effects of digitalization on organizations [Master of Science thesis, Tampere university of Technology].
Latorella, K. A., & Prabhu, P. V. (2000). A review of human error in aviation maintenance and inspection. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 26(2), 133–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-8141(99)00063-3
Malaysia Airports. (2022). Asia Digital Engineering to build integrated state-of-the-art MRO facilities at KLIA aeropolis. https://www.malaysiaairports.com.my/media-centre/news/asia-digital-engineering-build-integrated-state-art-mro-facilities-klia-aeropolis
Mandl, I. (2021). Employment impact of digitalisation. Eurofound.
Matamales, M., Skrbis, Z., Hatch, R. J., Balleine, B. W., Götz, J., & Bertran-Gonzalez, J. (2016). Aging-related dysfunction of striatal cholinergic interneurons produces conflict in action selection. Neuron, 90(2), 362–373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2016.03.006
Ratna, R., & Kaur, T. (2016). The impact of information technology on job related factors like health and safety, job satisfaction, performance, productivity and work life balance. Journal of Business & Financial Affairs, 5, 171. https://doi.org/10.4172/2167-0234.1000171
Read, B. (2020). Aerospace digital transformation. Royal Aeronautical Society. https://www.aerosociety.com/news/aerospace-digital-transformation/
Sava, J. A. (2022). Information Technology (IT) spending forecast worldwide from 2012 to 2023, by segment. https://www.statista.com/statistics/268938/global-it-spending-by-segment/
Schmücker, R., Meyer, H., Roedler, R., Raddatz, F., & Rodeck, R. (2021). Digitalization and data management in aircraft maintenance based on the example of the composite repair process. Institute of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul, German Aerospace Center. https://elib.dlr.de/143748/1/DLRK2021_550066_Schmuecker_Robin_Hendrik_Meyer_DLR_final.pdf
Sprehe, M. (2011). Maintenance of aircraft – 3 obstacles for the digital transformation. Mainblades. https://mainblades.com/blog/maintenance-of-aircraft-3-obstacles-for-the-digital-transformation/
Toves, P. (2015). Evaluating success factors in implementing E maintenance in maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) organizations [PhD Thesis, Walden University]. https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/767/
Uniting Aviation. (2019). The future of MRO: Emerging technologies in aircraft maintenance. https://unitingaviation.com/news/capacity-efficiency/the-future-of-mro-emerging-technologies-in-aircraft-maintenance/
WeTransform. (2022). Report on the 3nd WeTransform workshop. Riga. https://wetransform-project.eu/news-events/report-on-the-3d-we-transform-workshop/