Airbus plans to approximately triple the fleet covered by its digital services platform Skywise by the end of 2019.

Senior vice-president digital solutions Norman Baker said at the MRO Europe convention in Amsterdam on 17 October that Airbus was aiming to have around 100 Skywise airline customers, with a total fleet of 10,000 aircraft under contract, by the end of the period.

Today, 28 airlines with a total fleet of some 3,500 aircraft have subscribed to the platform, he says. Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines was recruited as an additional Skywise customer to support its A320 and A330 fleets.

Baker declined to disclose business volume in revenue terms.

He says the airframer has been able to substantially shorten project lead times through a "very strong transformational shift" in the way software development programs are being approached.

In the past, he says, Airbus required, on average, between 18 months and two years to develop software solutions requested by airlines. However, by the time they were ready to be rolled out, they were frequently obsolete.

In January, he says, Airbus adopted an "appropriation mode" under which the manufacturer develops solutions together with the customer, and early product iterations are used for testing and potential further development.

Using this method, a predictive maintenance tool was developed within 10 weeks, he says.

In order to foster development and grow its digital services business, Airbus earlier this month opened a dedicated facility in Toulouse. The team there will comprise some 800 people.

In June, Airbus unveiled an aircraft reliability analysis software package for Skywise, through which airlines can examine potential technical issues on their aircraft in context with real-time fleet operational data, maintenance records and spare-parts information.

The software "allows users to drill down into trends to truly diagnose root causes so they can allocate resources to mitigate recurring operational interruptions", Airbus says.

It adds that the system also provides access to "worldwide anonymised fleet data so that airlines can proactively assess reliability performance against industry benchmarks".

While the present system concentrates on analysing the technical status quo of aircraft, the next generation will enable users to assess the effectiveness of maintenance actions.

In 2019, the manufacturer will introduce an aircraft health monitoring tool for Skywise, which serves as a replacement for Airbus's existing Airman solution, says Baker.

The new system is currently being tested and has been shown to handle 600,000 data occurrences within 0.1s, while Airman is capable of handling 7,000 events with a 30s response time, he says.

This story has been undated to correct a figure in the final paragraph

Source: Cirium Dashboard