Airbus is leading the digital shift in the aviation industry, taking advantage of wide-ranging benefits from improving its business performance and customer support to reducing the company’s environmental footprint.
One area Airbus has targeted is the distribution of technical data manuals to customers – with the objective to take this process “all-digital” by early 2017, eliminating the need for the CDs and DVDs that are sent out today.
"Online delivery is the fastest way to ensure important technical data is made available to customers to support their efficient maintenance and flight safety operations,” explained Mark Crompton, who is managing the project for Airbus. “The information is often times online weeks before they would receive a CD or DVD, thus considerably reducing the risk of encountering obsolete data.”
The digitalisation of technical data distribution
Last year, the company delivered more than 250,000 CDs to customers – equivalent to the height of the Taj Mahal in India, Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben in London and Paris’ Arc de Triomphe all stacked on top of each other.
Seeing a significant opportunity for making this process more efficient and environmentally friendly, as well as to provide better customer support, the company has been working on digitalising technical data distribution.
In June of this year, Airbus launched an online acknowledgement service that is compliant with legal requirements and safe data distribution practices. This allows operators to download all technical data from the AirbusWorld portal without a CD or DVD back-up.
Investing in digital, helping the environment
Crompton explained that he expects customers will download approximately 50 terabytes of data in 2016 – roughly equivalent to 4,000 high-definition movies.
Additionally, following feedback, Airbus has reinforced its content delivery network to meet customer requirements. Launched in 2014, the content delivery network now comprises some 60,000 integrated servers that work together for providing online technical data services to customers.
"Digitalising technical data distribution is expected to generate significant cost savings for Airbus that can be used for further enhancements across our digital infrastructure,” Crompton said. “The environmental impact is also significant, with a reduction in CO2 emissions equivalent to 730 one-way flights between Beijing and Paris for one passenger.”