Article | July 15, 2022
Blockchain's abilities and features such as security, transparency, and centralizing systems can help aerospace companies reduce maintenance costs, minimize errors in aircraft parts and increase aircraft availability.
Blockchain technology has been valuable to one of the world's most complex and globally interconnected industries—the aviation industry. The technology can deliver ultimate benefits for thousands of suppliers, mainly involved in manufacturing an aircraft.
Aviation business leaders know that they need to adapt and innovate to survive. And blockchain in the aviation industry is one growing area of innovation that is yet to be explored. However, experts agree that aircraft maintenance and operations innovation will enable aviation companies to improve their efficiency. In this way, the technology will enhance performance and safety notions to the next level.
"We believe blockchain is significant in the aviation industry. Its probabilities promise to stimulate efficiency in the industry through maintenance process in general."
- Scott Thompson, the aerospace and defense leader at PwC.
Blockchain: A Technology of Trust
According to IATA's study in "Future of the Airline Industry 2035," blockchain study has been identified as one of the technologies that may significantly impact the future of aviation. It also states that demand for new commercial aircraft may reach nearly 40,000 planes over the next 20 years!
Looking at the demand scale, the companies that manufacture, provide services and operate aircraft mostly seek out AI, 3D printing, and blockchain technology. They would allow airline businesses to optimize performance.
"Blockchain is a lot about trust in the context of aviation, but the trust comes with huge costing."
- Scott Thompson
To him, blockchain for the aviation industry is like medicine. Through blockchain tools, the more data you have on every aircraft part, the better you can predict the parts' performance, longevity, abilities, and performance. Thus, the potential of predictive analytics will increase.
With blockchain, you have a snapshot of every part of the aircraft and know the parts' history. Moreover, the decentralized nature of blockchain made the maintenance process flawless, with all data being analyzed at the same time.
So, what areas can benefit from the blockchain and make a difference in aviation? First, let's highlight the part.
Blockchain Technology: Making a Difference
The Role of Blockchain in the Supply Chain
The supply chain in the aviation industry is looking promising for collaborations to happen in the supply chain. Blockchain will bring revolution in the long term to connect many loose ends in the supply chain ecosystem. The technology offers a prominent way to track data and provide consistent aircraft configuration data across the supply chain.
So, by knowing the absolute configuration of an aircraft part, blockchain solution empowers airlines and defense companies to share and authenticate data securely.
Blockchain in Aircraft Parts Tracing
Blockchain also plays a vital part in transforming maintenance logs and tracing aircraft parts. With the help of blockchain technology, you can ensure that parts being produced are authentic and meet the necessary airworthiness requirements.
For example, a blockchain application named Enspan, formerly known as Parts Pedigree, is pioneering. It could offer a more efficient approach to documenting an asset's lifecycle.
At the same time, with the help of blockchain applications, airlines would be able to sell and purchase parts with confidence. The only consideration is the documentation should be accurate and comply with all maintenance regulations.
Blockchain Applications in Loyalty Programs
Blockchain in the aviation industry can automate loyalty program transactions and security. It is relevant today as more and more airline companies are issuing credit cards, rental cars for accommodation, membership cards, and more like these.
By creating a standard digital currency like tokens using the blockchain, travelers can access instant value for flights on the spot. On the other hand, airline executives get a transparent understanding of how the revenue generates from reward programs.
For example, companies like Loyyal have already leveraged the benefits of blockchain to create digital wallets. These wallets will let customers store their reward tokens.
Deloitte mentions that blockchain for the aviation industry could be a game-changer in this field. This is because intelligent contacts can automate transactions through the blockchain, even in the supply chain.
Blockchain In Enhancing Security Measures
Blockchain technology, along with encryption, offers aviation an outstanding security blanket. As digitalization is speeding up, the need to have extra security layers for users is more critical than ever. So, for optimum security measures, blockchain employs cryptography that serves as a firewall against online threats and attacks. Any part of the information on the blockchain is stored cryptographically in secrecy.
Do you remember Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that vanished in March 2014? The case was the biggest mystery in the aviation industry. There was no information on the flight's disappearance. Millions of dollars were spent trying to uncover the mysterious reason behind Malaysia Airlines Flight 370's disappearance.
The event is a clear example of why there is a need for a more robust storage mechanism. Blockchain usage in security measures is a priority to tackle such incidents in the future. In emergencies, information regarding flight routes, in-flight operations, location tracking, passenger data, and documents can be easily detected.
Flight-related data on a blockchain backup record adds an extra layer of protection in today's time amid centralized systems. However, it is all being done to ensure that all the processes remain transparent and effective.
Blockchain for Aircraft Maintenance
A commercial aircraft’s average lifetime remains up to 30 years. So, it's a laborious process to maintain documents associated with an aircraft.
On this, says,
"90% of entire maintenance records of an aircraft are paper-based documents. So there are millions of boxes."
- John Maggiore of Boeing
Understandably, such a system can have many drawbacks and lead to loss or fraud. For example, American Airlines in 2015 was proof of a fraud case in maintenance, which still can be an issue as senior aircraft have no chance of having a digital record.
So, when looking at the role of blockchain in helping airline companies go digital, there are higher expectations for the technology to serve in this field. In addition, the tools associated with blockchain technology can maintain an immutable record of aircraft, benefiting stakeholders in the aviation leasing community.
Furthermore, blockchain technology for the aviation industry can also speed up the release of an aircraft. It would be as simple as scanning a QR code on an engine to provide the entire history of the asset.
Hence, there is no stopping here! For example, companies such as Boeing are examining more and more blockchain applications. Similarly, Airbus has also demonstrated an interest in how blockchain technology could be used in supply chain tracking.
Therefore, by using blockchain to reinforce the Internet of Things, you can understand the potential of two crucial technologies working to work together to digitize and future proof airline processes.
Finally, Blockchain is Gaining Traction in Aviation!
The aviation industry operates under strict safety standards, regulations, and concerns. And the way it leads ultimately comes from the technologies it adopts (historical or present). For this reason, the bar of expectancy always remains high. On top of all, the pandemic has resulted in proving blockchain’s capabilities.
Among most airline companies, Airbus is intensely learning about the potential of blockchain. In addition, several other airline companies have expressed their interest in bolstering blockchain technology. As mentioned above, Lufthansa, British Airways, and Air New Zealand have already implemented the technology in their various airline projects. Whereas Air France in 2020 announced that it is looking forward to using the technology to enhance its maintenance activities.
The blockchain has already captured the needs of aviation businesses across the world. Still, the testing continues on the other side of the table. However, the providers of blockchain solutions are progressing rapidly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is blockchain used in the aviation industry?
Blockchain in the aviation industry is gaining high value. It showcases its capabilities in tracking the status and location of flights, detecting parts, passengers' data in detail, monitoring operations in-flight, and more.
How can blockchain improve the aviation industry?
Blockchain in aviation can bring in much-required shifts and alterations. Shifts like improving ground operations, getting transparency in processes, transactions, costs, and revenue, and provide layers of securities to essential assets..
Do airlines use blockchain?
Airlines use blockchain technology to manage their take-offs and landing slots. The technology helps create cost-effective solutions to allow airlines to swap take-off slots and land more efficiently.e
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"name": "How can blockchain improve the aviation industry?",
"text": "Blockchain in aviation can bring in much-required shifts and alterations. Shifts like improving ground operations, getting transparency in processes, transactions, costs, and revenue, and provide layers of securities to essential assets.."
"name": "Do airlines use blockchain?",
"text": "Airlines use blockchain technology to manage their take-offs and landing slots. The technology helps create cost-effective solutions to allow airlines to swap take-off slots and land more efficiently."
Article | December 28, 2021
Although airlines only contribute to 2% of global emissions today, research indicates that this number could rise if air travel continues to grow. As such, airlines need to adapt and find new ways to become more sustainable. Successful implementation of eco-conscious strategies will see carriers achieve higher profits and maintain the trust of customers.
SimpliFlying has a long history of helping airlines craft the future of travel and we believe that addressing climate change is essential to rebuilding trust in the aviation industry.
Article | July 6, 2022
A New System That Aims to Create Carbon-Neutral Aviation
Scientists have achieved an amazing breakthrough in the development of carbon-neutral fuel for the aviation industry. An aviation fuel production system that uses water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide has been put into action. Its design was published on July 20th, 2022, in the journal Joule. The dream of achieving carbon-free aviation could become a reality with this development.
“We are the first to demonstrate the entire thermochemical process chain from water and CO2 to kerosene in a fully-integrated solar tower system.” - Aldo Steinfeld, Professor, Study Corresponding Author, ETH Zurich
The aviation industry accounts for approximately 5% of the global anthropogenic emissions that contribute to global climate change. The industry heavily relies on kerosene, commonly known as jet fuel, a liquid hydrocarbon fuel derived from crude oil. There are no clean options to power commercial flights on a global scale at the moment.
Production of Synthetic Kerosene
This breakthrough, with the help of solar energy, makes it possible to produce synthetic kerosene from water and carbon dioxide instead of crude oil. The amount of CO2 emitted during kerosene combustion in a jet engine equals what is consumed during its production in the solar plant. It is what makes the fuel carbon neutral, especially if the CO2 in the air is captured and directly used as an ingredient, which could be possible in the near future.
As part of the European Union's SUN-to-LIQUID project, Steinfeld and his colleagues put forward a system that uses solar power to generate drop-in fuels—synthetic alternatives to fossil-derived fuels like kerosene and diesel. Solar-produced kerosene is consistent with the current aviation infrastructure for allocation, fuel storage, and use in jet engines. It can also combine with fossil-derived kerosene, according to Steinfeld.
High Hopes for the Future
Steinfeld and his team began scaling the construction of a solar fuel manufacturing plant at the IMDEA Energy Institute in Spain half a decade ago. The plant has 169 sun-tracking reflective panels that redirect and concentrate solar radiation into a tower-mounted solar reactor. This concentrated solar energy then powers redox reaction cycles in the reactor’s porous ceria structure, which is not absorbed but can be reused. It transforms the water and carbon dioxide into syngas, a customized mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This syngas is then injected into a gas-to-liquid converter and is finally converted into liquid hydrocarbon fuels such as kerosene and diesel. Steinfeld and his team are working on amping up the reactor’s efficiency from the current 4% to more than 15%.
Article | August 31, 2021
Is the aviation industry finally reviving after the devastating 2020? If yes, then what will it show in the next five years?
2020 will be remembered in airline history as the most turbulent year to date. Due to the pandemic, the period brought massive changes in the airline industry—business models and customer behavior globally. As a result, regaining customer confidence and reforming business models have become a critical factor for airlines to uncloud the economic storm and remain a formidable competitor in the years of uncertainty ahead.
Technologies that were being used before the pandemic are now being studied well with vividness. The inclusion of new technologies is onboarding, which somehow sets up new aviation industry trends. These will be a timely solution to fight the ongoing economic instability and challenges pouring in.
To increase safety notions, boost business confidence, customer trust, and making airline operations more efficient, adaptability and high intelligent business outline is the new blueprint for survival and growth to happen in the next five years.
Drivers of Emerging Trends
The intention of emerging trends in the airline industry is from weak signals from a wide range of fields, including threats, technology, and potentiality to function remotely, impacting the industry’s all-over operational dynamics.
The trends are setting primarily due to the winds of change pounding the industry from different directions. Be it from technological, demographical to environmental shifts. Understanding the potential business landscape is therefore critical to ensure what the future of air travel will be.
During a study conducted by IATA, business leaders in the airline industry identified the most critical drivers of emerging trends that were probable to have an influential impact by 2035. Also, these drivers suggest bringing more and more opportunities in business models and operational models of the industry beyond 2020.
Therefore, it is the hope of all airline companies (you) that how you will be affected by future developments and how the entire business landscape will be changed by the trends discussed here. So, take advantage of the opportunities that some of these trends may give rise to.
Leading Aviation Trends to Expect
Today, the importance of cybersecurity technology in the airline industry is rising. Airlines, now being aware of the downsides of using traditional operational models, is becoming more concerned about delivering high-performance using technology.
With having well-operated cybersecurity functionality onboard, airlines are focusing on becoming more agile to scale their infrastructure. Also, in the next five years, increased connectivity between the real and virtual world, including robots, will eventually end the boundaries between virtual and physical security.
IATA’s research with the London School of Economics found that the aviation industry will invest $15 billion by 2035, thanks to connected operations.
Moreover, as cybersecurity matures, it will be seen as the most secure and scalable way of operating organizational data, and processing will be easier than before. You will have your airline documents within a secured centralized database, which will reduce silos of information that pose security risks and threats.
The pandemic, apart from bringing challenges, has helped businesses to leverage influential ideas to foster. Yes, it has made the airline industry emphasize the high usage of biometrics as a must-have technology stack. Biometrics is on the rise that can reinforce the idea of touchless operations in airports.
The airline industry forecast has laid primary focus on self-service. However, as the blend of software and technology is more in demand, applications will be more defined than before in the coming five years. The technology will allow automated checks, self-service systems using devices like mobile, tablets, and others and cover iris, face recognition, fingerprint, which will even work with PPE masks.
The industry is already making great experiences that allow businesses to conduct frictionless operations using biometric software and hardware. For example, in November 2020, Star Alliance introduced a novel interoperable biometric identity scanner platform for screening employees and passengers at airports.
AI & Big Data
Artificial Intelligence (AI) welcomed massive opportunities in transforming aviation business operations amid the ongoing crisis. This technology in the airline industry has immensely aided companies in collecting data and forming a virtual assistance environment for queries, enhanced logistics operation, security, and self-services with highly augmented reality.
A market survey reveals that 97.2% of the aviation companies are installing big data and AI together. In fact, 76.5% of airline companies are gaining the value of data collection with the help of big data and AI. Source: resources.vistair.com
AI is also being set up in terms of safety improvement initiatives and potential safety issues. In this case, Southwest Airlines partnered with NASA to build an automated system capable of preventing potential threats and breaches by using machine-learning algorithms.
Green technology is one of the upcoming trends in the airline industry in the next five years. The prediction is it will make novel changes in the airline industry from various directions like the workforce, shares, stakeholders, and governments.
In the green tech concept, it is the generational shift and advancement that may head the change using new tools. These would bring in notable opportunities beyond 2021.
If you observe, the pandemic has driven the agenda of sustainability in terms of climatic conditions. And you will be surprised to know that aviation has already put up a serious concern in its fossil fuel usage by 2035. Even aircraft manufacturers have begun their journey with green technology.
To clarify this, the main objective of sustainable development for the coming years is decarbonization and green technology investment.
Aviation companies like Japan Airlines and IAG are investing to bring net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and by 2045, they aim to achieve carbon neutrality. And these, of course, are happening quickly due to digitalization.
Expecting a Sustainable ‘DIGI-TECH’ Future
As the pandemic brought downturn and slowdown in the airline industry, they have prioritized investing in digital by recognizing its importance and the optimum necessity. It is because it will be one of the significant ways for you to bring customers back and show your potential to endeavor services in a changing industry landscape.
So, technology and digital together must be supported that respects businesses’ need to invest in multiple areas of functionality. On the other side, revenue management goals also need to be focused on to gain success among competitors. And following the path of trending digital platforms will make you victorious over revenue management performance objectives. In this way, you will be in the skin of the game and would observe your company rising through the challenges over the coming years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the topmost technologies that will define aviation beyond 2021?
The technologies—3D printing in manufacturing, automation, and robotics are the topmost that will define how the aviation industry will be beyond 2021.
How is technology being used in aviation?
Airline operators use technology to market their services and products, advancing their software to leverage functionalities like biometrics, automation, cybersecurity, AI, big data, and more. Also, technology is being used to make safer airport operations like touchless checks to make safe for passengers.
Will the aviation industry overcome challenges?
Up until now, globally, the aviation industry is maintaining positive growth, despite prevailing challenges due to COVID-19. Technologically, it seems that the industry will foster slowly and gradually. Yet, there is sluggish growth economically due to high jet fuel prices.
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"text": "The technologies—3D printing in manufacturing, automation, and robotics are the topmost that will define how the aviation industry will be beyond 2021."
"name": "How is technology being used in aviation?",
"text": "Airline operators use technology to market their services and products, advancing their software to leverage functionalities like biometrics, automation, cybersecurity, AI, big data, and more. Also, technology is being used to make safer airport operations like touchless checks to make safe for passengers."
"name": "Will the aviation industry overcome challenges?",
"text": "Up until now, globally, the aviation industry is maintaining positive growth, despite prevailing challenges due to COVID-19. Technologically, it seems that the industry will foster slowly and gradually. Yet, there is sluggish growth economically due to high jet fuel prices."