AirAsia, Asiana Airlines and Etihad Airways have signed up with Airbus for its Skywise predictive maintenance services, with the airframe manufacturer saying it means more than 1,000 of its aircraft will be connected to its open aviation data platform.

The trio of airlines are the first to use full aircraft data and advanced predictive analytics on Airbus’ Skywise platform, with each signing a premium subscription contract covering predictive maintenance.

The agreements signed at the Singapore Airshow cover the retrofit of their respective A320 and A330 family fleets with FOMAX, which Airbus describes as a new onboard data-capture and transmission module that provides greatly expanded volumes of recorded aircraft data. Only about 400 aircraft parameters could previously be recorded on an A320, it said, compared with roughly 24,000 from an aircraft equipped with the new module.

The data will be used by the airlines to gain deeper insights, create bespoke recommendations and apply Skywise analytics applications for enhanced decision-making. That should lead to better anticipation of the need for maintenance before an event happens, maximising operational reliability and utilisation of their assets.

AirAsia, Asiana and Etihad will also gain access to Skywise Core, a cloud-based platform offering further visibility into their fleet operations. Airlines using Skywise Core can integrate their own operational, maintenance, and aircraft data into the Skywise cloud, so they can store, access, manage, and analyse selected Airbus data together with their own data and global benchmarks without the need for additional infrastructure investments.

For airlines not using the premium predictive services, Airbus offers Skywise Core under a “shared value” arrangement, with airlines that agree to share operating data from their Airbus fleet able to access the platform at no cost. Those currently doing so include Bangkok Airways, LATAM, WOW air, Peach Aviation, easyJet and Emirates.

Airbus launched Skywise in collaboration with Palantir Technologies during last year’s Paris Airshow.


Future AirAsia A330neos

AirAsia added it currently has around 230 aircraft in service, complemented by an order backlog of approximately 470 Airbus aircraft, including 66 A330neos and over 400 A320/A321neos yet to be delivered. All will be Skywise-enabled.

Tony Fernandes, group CEO, said via Twitter that, together with the Google and Palantir sales forces and what it is doing on blockchain, Skywise would drive costs down and bringing in “huge revenue upside.”

Eric Schulz, Airbus EVP, chief of sales, marketing and contracts, also commented that it was “excited that this will enhance further the economics of the future A330neo fleet at the airline,” hinting that Airbus may be ahead of Boeing in the chase for a large impending order from the airline that in recent months has reportedly seen Fernandes consider opting for Boeing Dreamliners instead of the A330s.

He went on to hint: “I have been very pleased to sit down with the AirAsia X team to share the initial A330neo flight test data and to review the aircraft operational performance forecast on the airlines’ routes, covering both the existing and projected network. All the analysis has confirmed the superiority of the A330neo versus the competition.

“Air Asia Group is the leading low-cost carrier in the fastest-growing aviation market worldwide and the A330neo is a fantastic value proposition, in particular for the very promising long-haul low cost segment in the 300-400 seat category.”


Hong Kong Airlines

In a separate earlier announcement, Hong Kong Airlines also selected Airbus to provide flight hour services – tailored support package (FHS-TSP) for its fleet of 21 A350 XWBs. Among the three FHS pools of spare parts that Airbus has in Asia, Hong Kong Airlines will benefit from the Hong Kong-based pool which opened in 2016. The other pools are in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The carrier ordered 21 A350-900 aircraft, all of which will be delivered by the end of 2020. It currently has three in service.