The Aviation & Aerospace Industry Has Been Grounded by Legacy Systems and Technical Baggage. Let’s Cut the Weight.
Airlines connect our world, transporting millions of people and packages every single day. With so much at stake — the lives of passengers and valuable goods onboard — airlines around the world prioritize safety above all else. The aircraft we fly on are composed of millions of different parts that regularly undergo maintenance, repair, and overhaul — referred to as MRO services — to keep them in the air and make that industry-wide priority a reality.
When an aircraft part requires maintenance, airlines contract third-party MRO service providers to perform specialized work on the part. This business transaction involves multiple personnel across both organizations and relies on disparate, paper-based processes.
Excluding human error, the repair cycle can span anywhere between 7 and 45 days. During this time, airlines cannot access the status of the repair, impeding their capacity to predict fleet availability. To further complicate the process, part data is maintained by each relevant party in a unique format and technology stack — including legacy ERPs, Maintenance Management systems, emails, faxes, and even banker’s boxes of papers — and in a landscape where truth represents the airworthiness of a given aircraft, the need for evolution is vividly apparent.
“Our team looked at these problems with great scrutiny,” says David Bettenhausen, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Aerotrax Technologies. “We then designed what an optimized MRO process would look like using feedback from some of the brightest minds and most experienced veterans in the field. Then, we built technology around these optimized processes in order to make them extremely efficient and highly scalable.”
Unifying Disparate Systems and Connecting Business Silos
Aerotrax is transforming the aircraft part repair cycle. The platform organizes, streamlines, and automates existing business processes shared between customers and suppliers to enable proactive decision making. It brings all parties involved in MRO service — including airlines, MROs, OEMs, lessors, and regulators — onto one platform to establish the single source of truth.
“We created Aerotrax to fit seamlessly within industry stakeholders’ IT infrastructure,” says Phong Nguyen Dang, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer. “Our team architected two versions of the product, Performance and Enterprise. Performance provides airlines and MROs with a zero-lift, integration-free solution, minimizing time to value. Enterprise is fully integrated with the customer technology stack, eliminating duplication and data reentry — unlocking the true potential of frictionless transactions.”
Aerotrax enables real-time analytics by allowing airlines to digitally extend into third-party MRO operations. This improves Turnaround Time (TAT) for suppliers, which, in turn, reduces Aircraft-On-Ground (AOG) time for airlines. Ultimately, Aerotrax can deliver significant productivity gains, unprecedented cost savings, and new revenue opportunities for both the airlines and the MRO service providers.
“One of the challenges we saw in delivering the solution to the private and highly regulated Aviation & Aerospace industry is that it requires top-notch data security measures to be implemented,” Nguyen Dang says. “On top of that, the stakeholders are very interdependent; however, industry players continue to operate in silos. Distributed ledger technology can break down these silos, but it needs to be realized in a secure, scalable environment.”
Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Data Sharing on R3's Corda & AWS
AWS, Corda, and Aerotrax provide airlines and MRO service providers with a shared view of critical business information. The application replaces manual data transmission, which is error-prone and time-consuming. Aerotrax, instead, validates data as it is issued onto a shared ledger through smart contracts and digital signatures. The records are therefore verifiable and permanent — eliminating the need for costly reconciliation and audit.
Aerotrax is powered by AWS, which it uses to spin up Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) environments including Corda nodes and network infrastructure. Many AWS services are in use to run Aerotrax, including Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for the nodes’ databases; Amazon Cognito for authentication management; Amazon API Gateway to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs; Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for on-demand compute capacity; Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to launch resources in a private and permissioned network; AWS Certificate Manager to provision, manage, and deploy private SSL/TLS certificates; AWS Cloudfront for secure, low latency content delivery; and Amazon Route 53 for DNS support.
“Our decision to host the Aerotrax platform in AWS came almost a full year after we began development,” says Borys Skowron, Head of Product Design. “We were in search of cloud infrastructure that was secure, high-performing, and reliable. AWS checked all the boxes and continues to exceed our expectations in business support.”
Corda is the underlying DLT solution on which Aerotrax is constructed. “Performance, privacy and enterprise readiness were all considered in the selection of a DLT platform” says Bettenhausen. “To date, we are thrilled with our experiences developing on Corda. We have been able to deliver an incredible amount of value using built-in tools for digitizing business processes on a shared ledger.”
“Given the sensitive nature of the data housed on Aerotrax, maintaining the trust of platform users will be paramount,” says Nick Rogers, Corda Platform Engineer at R3 and Technical Advisor at Aerotrax. “Unlike other DLT platforms, Corda provides functionality which enables Aerotrax to ensure private data is only accessible to relevant parties. This means absolute control over data privacy, security, and compliance. With straight-through processing, industry leading performance, tamper-proof records, and a customer-centric network effect — Corda provides Aerotrax with all the benefits of DLT without the performance drawbacks of fully decentralized systems.”
“However, a platform designed to build a shared truth (Corda) is only as effective and secure as its infrastructure. AWS has a robust, and scalable tool kit which meets the stringent requirements for security and availability as demanded by Aerotrax customers. AWS and Corda are well suited to support the Aerotrax user base as it becomes increasingly resource intensive with the entry of new customers and the deepening of existing relationships with airlines, MROs, OEMs, lessors, and regulators.”
Taking Flight into a Frictionless World
The headwinds the Aviation & Aerospace Industry is facing brought on by the pandemic has only increased the appetite for digital transformation. Aerotrax’s strategy is to provide a targeted digital platform in the highest impact problem space before expanding to encapsulate the broader supply chain onto a single business network.
The company is rigorously testing the product in a POC with one of the world’s leading MRO service providers, Triumph Group (NYSE: TGI), in advance of the Commercial Pilot launch in Q1 of 2021. “Our company designed the Aerotrax platform to be innovative to capture virality, intuitive to seamlessly implement, and intelligent to deliver value,” Bettenhausen says. “The Commercial Pilot launch is a critical step for us to take in executing our vision.”
“Ultimately, our mission is to create shared value across the Aviation & Aerospace Industry by building platforms that distribute reliable, actionable data,” Bettenhausen adds. “Aerotrax is the next generation of aircraft maintenance software, and our team is excited to continue to deliver innovative products to this industry with the support of R3 and AWS.”
About Aerotrax Technologies
Aerotrax is an enterprise technology company focused on the development and commercialization of blockchain-enabled applications for the Aviation & Aerospace industry.
The company collaborates with some of the world’s leading airlines, MROs, OEMs, lessors, and regulators to design, build, and deliver innovative software products to the industry. To learn more about Aerotrax Technologies, visit aerotrax.org.
R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a broad ecosystem of more than 200 members and partners from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.
The Corda platform is already being used in industries from financial services to aviation, healthcare, insurance and more. It records, manages and executes institutions’ financial agreements in perfect synchrony with their peers, creating a world of frictionless commerce. Learn more at r3.com.
About Amazon Web Services
For 14 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 175 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 77 Availability Zones (AZs) within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for 18 more Availability Zones and six more AWS Regions in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland. Millions of customers — including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies — trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.
About Triumph Group
Triumph Group, Inc., headquartered in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, designs, engineers, manufactures, repairs and overhauls a broad portfolio of aerospace and defense systems, components and structures. The company serves the global aviation industry, including original equipment manufacturers and the full spectrum of military and commercial aircraft operators.
More information about Triumph can be found on the company’s website at http://www.triumphgroup.com.