Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a “digital alliance” designed to provide predictive maintenance for mixed fleets of aircraft.
The companies are teaming to leverage Delta’s predictive maintenance, MRO and mixed-fleet operational experience with Airbus’ Skywise platform and “significant” investment in data analytics.
This new portal, Predictive Maintenance Services, should span predictive maintenance for airframes, component and engine MRO—and allow customers to work in a more integrated way with Skywise. Norm Baker, Airbus’ SVP head of digital solutions, says it should be available in the first quarter.
Don Mitacek, Delta’s SVP technical operations, says the airline prevented 2,000 delays in 2018 based on its predictive maintenance actions. While Delta’s internal predictive maintenance actions have a 95% accuracy, he says the new alliance with Airbus “will leapfrog our capabilities to further decrease aircraft delays.”
Mitacek says part of the team’s internal success involves telling the technician who pulled component before it failed whether the predicted maintenance action was warranted based on the test bench results. Delta also has noted in logbooks if a component is being pulled for predictive reasons.
Another example he noted was a Boeing 777 integrated drive generator, which was pulled based on predictive maintenance. It didn’t fail on the bench test so was reinstalled on the aircraft, but it failed a few weeks later. “You need to test components for the fault you’re trying to find,” which the bench test might not do, he points out.
Baker says Airbus and Delta will seek other members to work on this Skywise portal and is open to discussions now. He says potential members will be evaluated based on the value they could add.
Baker revealed 90-plus customers who operate 8,000 aircraft use Skywise. Airbus will take the sales lead on Predictive Maintenance Services.
Delta started using Skywise in October 2018 for its A320 and A330 fleets, and then in June 2019, it started offering A220 component repair and material services for Airbus’ Flight Hour Services program.