Today’s modern aircraft differ greatly from those that airlines purchased and put into service just a decade ago. One key difference is that today’s aircraft contain a multitude of sensors that measure the health of engines and other equipment and parts. Their avionics and systems are designed to deliver the right data to the flight crew right when they need it. They’re also designed to communicate more with maintenance crews and airline employees, airport staff, and air traffic controllers on the ground.
So, it would make sense that legacy messaging solutions would be incapable of meeting the needs of these new aircraft. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many of today’s airlines are still relying upon.
Currently, the legacy messaging solutions that were purchased and implemented decades ago by the airlines are causing some problems. Aside from the fact that many of these systems are antiquated, need constant maintenance, and are difficult to run, they were made for airlines in a different, much simpler time.
More complexity, more problems
Today’s airline personnel, airport personnel, air traffic controllers, and flight crews are all connected and rely on data from each other to operate at peak performance and efficiency.
Without real-time, accurate location and status data from planes in the air, crews on the ground can’t know precisely when they’ll land, creating inefficiencies that can slow down the turnaround times of aircraft and delay the passenger journey – creating a negative passenger experience. Without data reporting the health of various aircraft systems and engines, maintenance crews can’t be prepared on the ground with correct replacement parts. They can lose precious time diagnosing problems instead of fixing problems when the aircraft lands.
For all of these capabilities to be possible, data must be shared across multiple individuals and organizations within the airline and airport. It also needs to be routed to correct individuals that need to see it.
But the increasing stakeholder ecosystem and need for information sharing are just part of a changing commercial aviation ecosystem that is creating complexity that older messaging solutions simply can’t accommodate.
“…[aircraft] can deliver so much data that could be leveraged to cut costs, increase sustainability, improve efficiency, and improve the passenger experience. But for this to be possible, that data needs to be routed to the right people and translated so that it can be utilized by a wide ecosystem of disparate systems and applications.”
Today’s airlines don’t utilize a single vendor or system to manage all of their operations. An airline may work with upwards of a dozen vendors or more for their flight planning solutions, data lake solutions, departure control solutions, and other systems and applications.
The data being shared to and from modern aircraft could be utilized across many of these systems and applications to make the airline more efficient and improve operations. However, different systems from different vendors often utilize different protocols and file formats. Often, the data from one system can’t be used by another.
As a consequence, today’s airlines find themselves in a situation where the aircraft they’re putting into service can deliver so much data that could be leveraged to cut costs, increase sustainability, improve efficiency, and improve the passenger experience. But for this to be possible, that data needs to be routed to the right people and translated so that it can be utilized by a wide ecosystem of disparate systems and applications from multiple different vendors – all utilizing different protocols and file formats.
But how can airlines make these systems talk to each other?
Hermes heralds a new age of messaging and connectivity
While the complexity of today’s connected aviation ecosystem may prove too much for older, antiquated messaging solutions, a new generation of message management solutions can meet the rigorous demands of today’s next-generation aircraft and exponentially increasing data.
Solutions, such as Collins Aerospace ARINC Hermes messaging software, are capable of managing all flight deck and back-office communications in one central solution. This capability simplifies critical communications and removes the need for multiple systems.
Applications such as Hermes can act to route necessary data to the party that needs it while also translating that data into the correct protocol. These message management solutions effectively provide the exchange, integration, and automation of messaging across an airline’s fleet, business systems, and remote sites to make data accessible to the parties that need it when they need it.
Without real-time, accurate location and status data from planes in the air, crews on the ground can’t know precisely when they’ll land, creating inefficiencies that can slow down the turnaround times of aircraft and delay the passenger journey – creating a negative passenger experience.
What’s even more exciting is that Collins Aerospace has invested heavily in Hermes to incorporate new innovative technologies such as predictive data. For example, in a recent Webinar hosted by Collins Aerospace, presenters Brittany Lemme, Head of Flight Ops Messaging Products at Collins Aerospace, and Paul Gibson. VP of Product at FlightAware, explained how Collins Aerospace and FlightAware solutions work together to deliver more precise estimated time of arrival (ETA) information to airline systems. Additionally, Hermes has incorporated predictive ETA information using FlightAware Foresight to provide more advanced information than ever before. They then handed the presentation to Peter Fillery, Product Manager of Hermes, who provided a demonstration of the solution in action.
The FlightAware Foresight solution leverages a huge volume of historical data – petabytes of flight data since the launch of the application – and marries that historical data with real-time flight intelligence and information from the aircraft to feed its predictive models. By applying cutting-edge machine learning technology to the massive volume of historical data and real-time data that FlightAware has access to, the application can make incredibly accurate predictions for flight arrivals.
That’s important because the presenters estimated that the cost of global flight delays to the industry is in excess of $120 Billion each year. Having a better understanding and transparency of aircraft arrival and departure times can help airlines keep flight delays from snowballing by putting them in a better position to predict delays and take measures to keep subsequent flights on track. This could involve making better gate and equipment utilization decisions, having maintenance crews ready on the ground, or just having personnel ready and able to assist with a delayed flight when it arrives to proactively re-routing passengers that missed connections.
FlightAware can have a massive, positive impact on airline and airport operations by providing much more accurate predictions of arrival times. But that data is only useful to airlines and airports if it’s shared widely across all systems – giving the entire aviation ecosystem a single view into aircraft status and a single source of information. And this is where Hermes comes in.
The aggregation, management, analysis, and use of data to gain actionable insights can decrease flight delays and streamline operations – but only if the data sharing and messaging problem that we discussed can be fixed.
By upgrading their messaging solutions to modern applications, airlines can get better visibility into aircraft arrival data, get predictive data about arrivals, departures, and maintenance requirements, and improve the customer experience.
To learn more about the increasingly essential role of message management solutions for modern airlines, click HERE to watch the Webinar, “Enterprise Fleet Management Solutions for Airline Operations.”