Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Singapore Airlines today announced Singapore Air as the first customer for a Boeing in-flight airplane monitoring system that will help airlines reduce flight-schedule interruptions.
Boeing Commercial Aviation Services has been developing the service, known as Airplane Health Management (AHM), since 2002. Air France, American Airlines and Japan Airlines have worked with Boeing as partners during the development and testing. Those airlines have validated the system's effectiveness during the past several months.
"AHM leverages Boeing's vast technical resources and airplane knowledge to provide value to our airline customers," said Boeing AHM Program Director Robert Manelski. "It will increase airlines' operational efficiency and reduce their costs.
"We are excited to have Singapore join our list of innovative airlines using AHM," Manelski added. "It further validates our investment in this capability."
Singapore Airlines will conduct a three-month trial, during which it will assess AHM's capability and fit within its operation.
"We are pleased to participate in this evaluation, which will provide our maintenance personnel with more effective real-time defect analysis," said Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President of Engineering Mervyn Sirisena. "AHM will allow our maintenance stations to prepare for rectification well ahead of aircraft arrival, leading to fewer flight disruptions for technical reasons."
During a flight, AHM relays information, in real time, about the airplane's systems to an airline's ground personnel. That data can prepare maintenance crews to make needed repairs after the airplane lands, which can help reduce airplane dispatch delays.
The information should also allow airlines to reduce their non-routine repairs and would support fleet-reliability programs by identifying recurring faults and trends.
Boeing is offering AHM in three releases. Release 1.0, available in April, will involve the reporting of fault data from an airplane's central maintenance computer. Release 2.0 will use "snapshots" of systems from the airplane condition monitoring system. Release 3.0, due in late 2005, will use a continuous stream of data taken during the entire flight.
AHM is part of a growing family of offerings from Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. Other products include a maintenance management software system specifically tailored to the air transport industry; a software module called Allowable Configuration Manager that centralizes configuration management via a Web-browser-based illustrated parts catalog and provisioning files; and an expanding document management system that currently includes Boeing Portable Maintenance Aid and Boeing Digital Technical Documents.
Singapore Airlines is one of the world's leading passenger and cargo carriers. The carrier is renowned for its combination of excellent customer service, dedicated employees and top-flight management. Boeing 747s and 777s comprise nearly 90 percent of the Singapore Airlines fleet.