Rolls-Royce has become a launch customer for a new service by SITA OnAir to provide airlines with a "neutral" system to transmit aircraft technical data to equipment manufacturers and maintenance specialists.

SITA says that the cloud-based information management service – dubbed "e-Aircraft DataHub" – can collect, classify, decode and store data that is being automatically generated on aircraft, and then dispatch "appropriate data sets" to airline-specified service providers.

The service is available for airlines wishing to send their data to original equipment manufacturers and third-party MRO providers, SITA says.

It acknowledges that airlines "reluctance" to permit OEMs access to sensitive data has been a factor that has "hampered progress" in utilising aircraft data to improve operations, for example, through predictive maintenance.

Geneva-based SITA OnAir's – which is jointly owned by airlines and other aviation stakeholders – describes itself as "perfectly positioned to act as a trusted and neutral data intermediary between airlines and OEMs".

Pierre-Yves Benain, head of SITA OnAir’s e-aircraft programme, states: "By acting as a secure, neutral data-broker between an OEM and an airline, SITA OnAir keeps the control and ownership of aircraft data firmly in the airline’s hands.

R-R head of product management Nick Ward says the UK company has extensively tested SITA’s service, which he describes as a "powerful data solution", enabling it to work with airline customers to "navigate and extract greater value from aircraft data, in a trusted way".