Leading British low-cost airline easyJet is to start using big data and predictive analytics to forecast technical issues with aircraft before they occur.
The Luton-based carrier has signed a deal with aircraft manufacturer Airbus’s Skywise data platform so engineers can intervene early and replace parts.
The airline said the move is part of it aim of eliminating delays caused by technical issues.
These have come down from 10 per 1000 flights in 2010 to just over three per 1000 flights today on the carrier’s newest aircraft. The airline’s long-term aim is to get that down to zero.
Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: “easyJet is leading the industry in using data and artificial intelligence to improve our efficiency as well as in other parts of the airline where its use can reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue.
“Our investment in the Skywise platform can really make a tangible difference for thousands of passengers by harnessing the power of big data to reduce delays.
“It will transform the way that we maintain and operate our aircraft with the long term aim of eliminating delays due to technical faults.”
The new deal has been agreed after a trial of Skywise that focussed on three technical issues on 85 aircraft in easyJet’s fleet.
Skywise predicted 31 technical failures which 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 that would otherwise have been disrupted.
Had the fault occurred at a remote airport the delay could have led to an overnight delay and knock on delays on other flights.
Developing from this prototype Skywise can now analyse data from other components on easyJet’s aircraft thanks to Airbus’ new flight operations and maintenance exchanger FOMAX which can collect 60 times more data than existing systems.
The new equipment will be fitted on easyJet’s fleet by Summer 2019 and allow the airline to recover around 800 gigabytes of data each year from up to 24,000 different parameters.
Tom Enders, chief executive of Airbus, said: “Our Skywise trial with easyJet over the past three years has been tremendously successful, demonstrating significant gains in operational performance through predictive maintenance. We are delighted to further cement our collaboration by extending this trail-blazing technology easyJet’s entire A320 family fleet.”