Mark Hannant

The space race not only put a man on the moon, it also famously gave the world Teflon and the non-stick frying pan, perhaps the greatest example of everyday benefits from aerospace technology.

The industry has always been a leader and possibly no more so than in the field of Information Technology (IT).The latest development in global communications, specifically designed for the aerospace community, is now generating great interest at Asian Aerospace '98 and in the wider business community.

AeroNet Affiliates, launched last year by communications specialist SITA (Stand C232), is helping aerospace companies, airlines and their suppliers to communicate with each other.

The system, described as an 'extranet', links the various intranets (internal company communications systems) and allows the transfer of vast amounts of information.

Boeing is already using the system and claims customers will benefit. Suppliers and airlines can access Boeing's On-Line Data (BOLD) which gives them access to technical drawings, component maintenance manuals, service bulletins and other data.

Says Bill Shaproski, manager of new business development in customer service for Boeing: "In the future our customers will get all the data required to maintain and operate their Boeing aircraft through a single network connection such as SITA's AeroNet. This will be much more efficient and accurate than searching through thousands of pages of manuals, or hundreds of thousands of aperture cards."

Lufthansa uses BOLD via AeroNet to access maintenance data.

Project manager Uwe Till says: "AeroNet greatly improves the speed and efficiency with which we can access the crucial data that is stored on BOLD, enabling us to improve continually the service we provide our customers."

Brad Carufel, aerospace marketing manager for SITA Asia, says: "In allowing the on-line distribution of information across SITA's AeroNet, aerospace companies such as Boeing can greatly enhance their business critical processes and improve customer services worldwide."

Future applications of the 'shared' information technology are immense, according to Sita.

An airline engineer will be able to replace a part at the gate, having ordered it while the aircraft was in flight, and keeping in direct contact with the part's manufacturer as he does the job.

Source: Flight Daily News