The IT industry has been helping to optimise aviation operations for decades. The digitalisation of different procedures has given birth to a variety of applications, widely use by the aviation industry today. A catalogue of solutions can be found helping airlines manage a variety of processes, such as electronic documentation, aircraft performance and flight planning optimisation, crew management or fuel efficiency. Other new services have recently become available, such as solutions for live flight tracking.
Data analytics is not an exception and in the last few years a number of companies have started to incorporate functionalities based on data mining and machine learning. In principle, most applications replicate existing operational procedures, providing and hedging to traditional software optimisation solutions, while maintaining the existing procedures. Providing analytics that can be embedded in operational procedures will require more flexibility in the future, along with trust in their efficiency within the organisations. A second generation of data analytics applications will surely will disrupt traditional operational procedures by fusing a variety of data sources, including not just airline or weather data but also airspace management data. Applications will be able to fuse and analyse a variety of datasets and leverage historical behavior of the system to predict and recommend operational solutions to airlines, airports and air navigation service providers.
Optimising today’s operational procedures through disruptive data science solutions will surely appear in the next future.
For now, several companies are already promising increased efficiencies in different contexts. Examples of this includes: Navblue, an Airbus company, offering the N-software, able to produce best-in-class aerodata targeting airspace re-design; Skybreath, offered by OpenAirlines, promises to exceed 2% on fuel savings thanks to big data analysis; Honeywell software helps airline flight operations managers to quickly understand fuel consumption trends, identify savings opportunities, monitor progress of savings initiatives and demonstrate results; PACE offers a more effective fuel management through improvement of daily operations, strategic planning and operational efficiency; and UTC offers enabling improvements in operational efficiency by integrating flight planning, avionics data, flight performance tracking and weather data with real-time updates and notifications.
In terms of aviation safety, Flight Data Services offers a full analysis service to aircraft operators to gain valuable safety insights through detailed reporting, statistics and visualization directly to safety departments. In addition, FlightScanner, offered by SafetyLine, offers to automatically identify the factors associated with hazardous situations based on all flight data. Last but not least, Innaxis coordinates the SafeClouds.eu research project which develops new data analytic techniques for a variety of airline and air traffic control operational contexts.