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