Laurent Martinez Airbus

Fast 5: Airbus Services Growing 18%, Says Top Exec

Laurent Martinez, head of Services by Airbus, talks with Lee Ann Shay about how Airbus plans to evolve maintenance efficiencies through Big Data and technology innovations--and for the first time discloses the segment's growth goal.

Is Services by Airbus meeting its goals?

In terms of numbers, we grew 18% in 2016 and another 18% in 2017. That is exclusive news for you: we have not previously released the 2017 percentage. Our progress is very positive.

That is also backed by several contracts. We signed seven Flight Hour Services agreements in 2017. We also launched the MRO Alliance at the Paris Airshow in 2017, as well as Skywise, our open aviation data platform. At the Singapore Airshow in February, we signed nine agreements with a number of airlines, which represents 1,000 aircraft that are connected, or will be connected, in Skywise. Some of those will include predictive maintenance capabilities, which will be a step change in our ability to support Airbus aircraft.

How many aircraft are on Skywise already and what is the adoption rate?

We are deploying Skywise connectivity and we already have five early adopters, who have been working with us for 18 months. We have a lot of market traction for Skywise, both in terms of Skywise Core (our main capabilities for Skywise digital), which connects all of the data from aircraft to our Skywise platform, as well as Skywise Predictive Maintenance, which removes equipment before it fails. As we speak, we have 10 airlines that are interested in it and we are finalizing agreements--some of which will be announced next month at MRO Americas in Orlando.

What is Airbus’ Hangar of the Future progressing?

Hangar of the Future is something that is linked to the MRO Alliance. MRO is all about turnaround time. We, as Airbus, don’t want to be a major a major player in MRO--we want to be a key actor in terms of innovation and pushing the boundaries of efficiencies for MROs. For example, we have two tools: MRO Alliance, which are our MRO partners, and the other is Sepang Aircraft Engineering in Kuala Lumpur. We completed the acquisition of the joint venture last year. Sepang is meant to be the flagship of innovation for the MRO of the future. We will deploy Hangar of the Future technologies there.

For instance, we have digital job cards to optimize the flow of maintenance activities. We also are using the Internet of Things and robotics as key enablers for MROs of the future. Maintenance in the past wasn’t as high tech. We want to move this activity to the 21st century, enabled by Skywise. We demonstrated some of this at the Singapore Airshow, but we’ll have more technology innovations for the Hangar of the Future at MRO Americas in Orlando.

Congratulations on finishing the acquisition of Sepang. Do you anticipate others?

Our strategy is more about partnership. However, we are open to expanding our own footprint on a very limited basis if it fits with our strategic activities and our customer base.

Is the MRO Alliance performing as you expected? What efficiencies are you gaining from it?

It is developing very well. The next step in terms of efficiencies will be around utilizing Skywise for MRO activities. We think we will be able to optimize materials for maintenance events. When you start to maintain an aircraft, there are around 30% of the tasks and materials that are defined. That means that 70% are undefined—the things you find when you open an aircraft. With Skywise and our capabilities, we will be able to have some statistical perspectives of the tasks and materials for that 70%, so we can data mine for a 15-year-old A320 what tasks, material and documentation it will probably need. It’s about having the right parts at the right place at the right time so we can reduce turnaround times. These are use cases we are developing and will implement step by step with our partners.

Laurent Martinez is speaking on the panel “Three-Way Competition: Boeing, Embraer and Airbus” at MRO Americas on April 10.

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