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Industry Group Simplifies Electronic Recordkeeping To Expedite Aircraft Transfers

ATA-led industry consortium developing electronic data exchange standards to streamline transfers of aircraft

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An Air Transport Association (ATA) e-Business Program working group is taking steps to make transferring aircraft between operators easier and more cost-effective. The group’s initiative is to develop electronic data exchange standards to streamline transfers, increasing business agility and reducing costs and opportunities for error. The eBusiness Program is composed of airlines, manufacturers, MRO companies, lessors and software providers. It develops standards and best practices to support commercial aviation through industry collaboration.

The working group started in early 2014 and has met around the globe, gathering input. Members include representatives from AerCap, Airlines for America, Airbus, American Airlines, Atlas, Boeing, FedEx, GE Engines, GECAS, KLM and several software providers.

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According to ATA’s e-Business program director of electronic data standards, Ken Jones, legacy data often resides on paper or in proprietary databases. In lieu of PDF files or other scanned file formats, the working group is proposing using XML, a digital format that allows for in-depth tagging. “The specification ensures the receiving and sending systems have a clear understanding of the purpose for every field, whether it is a serial number, an [airworthiness directive] number, or a method of compliance block,” Jones explains.

Given the vast amount of information that accompanies an aircraft when it changes hands, Jones says the group is prioritizing its work. “We’re starting with documents that will create the most value if available for electronic transfer, such as records evidencing the status of airworthiness directive compliance, modification and repair/damage, installed parts, and last done-next due maintenance.”

The group is also collaborating with the International Air Transport Association’s Aircraft Leasing Advisory Group—a partnership of airlines and lessors—to ensure all relevant lease exchange documentation is considered in the specification.

Several pilot programs are underway, and the feedback has been positive. The specification—which was recently revised via Version 2017.2—is available for implementation by individual companies and/or their software providers. 

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