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Digital solutions and analytics tools help airlines navigate COVID-19 challenges

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Author: Stefan Karisch, Chief Engineer, Analytics & Digital Solutions, Boeing Global Services  

Published: September 23, 2020

The economic and business challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are apparent across the aviation industry, especially for Boeing’s airline customers who provide seamless global travel experiences.

I recently had the honor of participating in a panel focused on leveraging data and digital solutions to address the pandemic’s impact to our industry during the MRO Asia Pacific virtual airshow. Along with the other panelists, I discussed how we are working with our customers to understand their unique challenges during this time. Using data analytics to uncover cost and efficiency gains is critical for our airline customers due to the pandemic’s impact, and our digital solutions are designed to optimize operations, reduce costs and eliminate workload for pilots.

For example, you can imagine the logistical headache of planning crew schedules in the midst of the pandemic’s impact on air travel. Pre COVID-19, our crew and operations planning solutions were used to manage the schedules of more than 460,000 crew members worldwide. As global air travel slowed, these same crew and operations planning tools have helped airlines to quickly re-plan and optimize resources, understand impacts and reduce costs.

We launched the HALO initiative which provides enhancements for Boeing’s Jeppesen Crew Pairing and Rostering users to allow airlines to re-work schedules in real-time to avoid COVID-19 hotspots as well as assign crews in pairings across flights to reduce exposure risk. If interested, learn more here.

Despite the slowdown in the industry, our data sharing programs like the In Service Data Program (IDSP) continue to thrive. A cooperative research program with several airline customers has also grown as we explore how to monitor component health and schedule the replacement of degrading components at a convenient time and location. Predictive and prescriptive maintenance tools and practices can effectively reduce schedule interruptions as well as component maintenance costs.

Our teams have even supported projects outside the aerospace industry. In March, a Boeing consulting team was able to adapt Boeing’s Jeppesen Crew Rostering application for use at the intensive care unit at Karolinska University Hospital, the second largest hospital in Sweden. The hospital needed immediate help to dramatically increase medical staff rosters. The consulting team adapted the application in less than a week to produce over 300 individual schedules. Read more here.

In all, from our portfolio of flight deck solutions, crew management tools, analytics capabilities, maintenance tools, and other digital solutions, we are working together with our customers to navigate through the economic and operational challenges of today and the future more efficiently.

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