A new report from Valour Consultancy says the advent of broadband connectivity, in the air and on the ground, means the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is now reaching the connected aircraft.
It says the e-Aircraft represents a paradigm shift for airlines and many are now in the early stages of deploying various connected aircraft applications.
Several have begun to embrace staged increases in electronic flight bag (EFB) capabilities often starting with one or two apps that they can later build upon.
The benefits of eTechlog, eCabin Logbook and enhanced flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) programs using quick access recorder (QAR) data are becoming better understood, while aircraft health monitoring solutions are being enriched by the infusion of increased data flows from previously disparate sub-systems and other information sources on and off the aircraft.
Overall, it is possible for substantial cost savings, in addition to greater ancillary revenues, to be realised from robust implementation of connected aircraft applications.
Valour says all of this has been made possible by what can be described as a perfect storm of conditions. Today, almost a third of the world’s total commercial active fleet has in-flight connectivity (IFC) and new, high capacity solutions promise to push further the boundaries of what the connected aircraft can achieve.
Service providers are seeking to eliminate choke points and make the very best of available bandwidth by using the latest and greatest equipment such as highly efficient modems, intelligent wireless access points (WAPs) and more powerful server units.
There is also huge interest in better performing flat panel antennas that promise to minimise fuel burn caused by drag. Additionally, next-generation aircraft like the 787 and A350 are flying data centres in all but name, generating huge amounts of data every flight by virtue of their very design.
At the same time, commercial off the shelf (COTS) technology is rapidly evolving and airport surface data communications continue to improve.
Consequently, a whole host of new services are springing up with software providers and application developers creating innovative solutions around many different parts of the connected aircraft to help optimise airline processes.