Just like industries everywhere, business aviation is becoming increasingly digitized. Data generated from an aircraft can record and relay information, in real time, on just about every aspect of the flight. Intelligently collating and analyzing these data saves money on the cost of flight operations, improves your onboard and ownership experience, and helps preserve the value of your aircraft when it comes time to sell.
Until now, business aviation has traditionally used data to provide historical diagnostic reference points; but in the same way Enterprise Resource Planning software revolutionized corporate financial management twenty years ago, so the ability to automatically collect, centralize, and analyze data is revolutionizing business aviation.
Transparent, reliable, timely data can give owners much clearer insight into an aircraft’s history and can answer many of the questions that influence the asset value and operational costs in a clear and verifiable way. How many hours has the aircraft flown? When is the next scheduled maintenance check? Why is the fuel burn going up? What are the monthly operating costs and what are they going to be? Which are the most expensive routes to fly and are there alternatives? These questions and a myriad more can be answered in a keystroke.
New technologies that can instantly transcribe text, the evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the growth of machine learning, is making rich data analysis possible as it replaces the need for extensive amounts of inefficient human capital. After all, value can be extracted only if a distinction is made between deficient and qualified data. As the familiar phrase “garbage in, garbage out” states, inaccurate data or poor quality input will always yield flawed output.
Yet when the data collected from automated entities such as aircraft platforms, scheduling systems, and financial software are centralized and verified, aircraft owners and operators benefit from a much clearer vision of what aircraft ownership looks like.
Authenticated data, collected automatically as events occur and expenses are incurred, can define costs based on facts and intelligent analysis, rather than quotes and guesstimates. This creates standards enabling “apples to apples” comparisons and distinguishes between non-relevant comparisons. Through accurate benchmarking, purchasing behavior can be modified to identify budgetary savings or confirm peak performance on every action associated with a flight. Data synchronized and shared across global flight departments support even more efficient operations, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance asset management.
From an aircraft’s first digital heartbeat, technology can unify visibility into all aspects of aircraft operations now, and into the future. Data enable powerful, predictive analysis. A single data resource can provide insight for the finance department into existing and anticipated costs, and supports the ability to intelligently query supplier pricing. It can help global flight departments make decisions about aircraft or fleet optimization based on an improved understanding of upcoming needs. Pilots can use data to efficiently plan future routing to maximize fuel burn, minimize turbulence, and improve the passenger experience. IT departments can use the same data to anticipate, manage, and mitigate cybersecurity risks associated with connected devices.
For those that adopt a data-led asset management strategy, the gap between the value of an aircraft with data-rich heritage and one with manually recorded logs will be immense and will only widen into the future.
By increasing transparency, asset values not only are retained, they increase as capital and operating expenditure is reduced. Data are driving new standards and bring more accountability to the operations of business aviation. This stimulates demand as the asset values are better understood by all stakeholders. Considering the current state of the globe, this increase in demand could not be happening at a better time for our industry. The data revolution is here and for early adopters it is the only way to fly. BAA
Ryan DeMoor, MBA, CAM, is Manager-Aviation Tax & Financial Reporting Solutions for Satcom Direct, leading the company’s fully outsourced tax and compliance department. He also serves as Secretary of NBAA’s tax committee.