As the frequent saying goes, predictive maintenance is a journey and destination, not a single event or program. And easyJet’s recent adoption of the reliability module of Airbus’s Skywise service is just another in series of steps on the path to a very ambitious goal.
“The new program builds on the success of a trial of the platform,” says spokesperson Katie Kershaw. The initial focus was on just three specific technical issues on 85 aircraft in easyJet’s fleet. Skywise predicted 31 technical failures that enabled easyJet to remove components before a fault occurred.
“This meant that at least 31 flights, which would have carried more than 4,400 passengers, operated on schedule but would otherwise have been disrupted,” Keershaw stresses. “Had the fault occurred at a remote airport, the delay could have led to an overnight delay and knock-on delays on other flights.
Proceeding from this prototype trial, Skywise can now analyze data from other components on easyJet’s aircraft using Airbus’ newly released flight operations and maintenance exchanger, or FOMAX. This addition can collect 60 times more data than the previous systems. The new FOMAX equipment will be fitted on easyJet’s entire fleet by summer 2019. It will allow easyJet to recover each year around 800 gigabytes of data covering up to 24,000 different parameters.
Airbus launched the Skywise aviation data platform at the 2017 Paris Air Show, in collaboration with Palantir Technologies. In March 2018, EasyJet announced a five-year predictive maintenance partnership with Airbus to forecast aircraft technical faults before they occur.
Even before 2018, progress has been made. Delays caused by technical issues stood at ten per 1,000 flights in 2010. Today, these delays are just over three per 1,000 flights today on easyJet’s newest aircraft. The airline’s long-term aim is to get these delays to zero. The airline just might get there, which means the same performance is at least possible for any airline with a relatively new fleet.