Improve operational efficiencies and customer expectations
GE’s Flight Efficiency Services (FES) are using the power of the Industrial Internet to help AirAsia make significant savings, through the implementation of precision navigation services, flight data analytics, and fuel management services. With a growing fleet of more than 160 aircraft, operating in excess of 340,000 flights per year, serving a network of 100 destinations in 22 countries, the AirAsia Group is a leading player in the Asian civil aviation market.
“AirAsia is a forward-thinking airline who is willing to make changes to benefit operations and customer expectations,” noted Alan Caslavka, president of Avionics & Digital Systems for GE Aviation.
The GE FES data-driven services and proprietary technologies are being harnessed to identify ways to reduce operating costs, increase aircraft utilization and achieve significant savings throughout the AirAsia network: Targeting bottom line operational savings in the order of $30-50MM over a five year term.
Realizing savings through fuel management
GE FES has been collaborating with AirAsia since 2012, in the development and delivery of a fuel management program to identify and realise fuel savings. The FES and AirAsia team use advanced data analytics to evaluate and qualify savings opportunities, before deploying airline and change management expertise to implement changes to operational policies and procedures, the outcomes of which are measured and reported using the proprietary “dashboard” tool.
For example, the joint GE and AirAsia team were able to harness the power of the industrial internet to develop a business case that was used to engage with the Malaysian Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) to secure approval to implement a procedure allowing AirAsia to taxi on one engine on departure: A first for a Malaysian airline, which translates to a saving of more than 60kg of fuel per flight.
We constantly innovate and do our best to contribute more to the country and elevate the aviation infrastructure. By achieving significant savings, we are able to save on fuel costs and this could be translated to more low fares for our guests, keeping true to our commitment that Now Everyone Can Fly
Gaining efficiencies through precision navigation
Required Navigation Performance (RNP), one of the highest-performing types of performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures, enables aircraft to precisely fly optimal, predetermined paths by using a combination of modern flight management computers, Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and innovative procedure design.
In addition to helping aircraft navigate safely in challenging terrain and weather, RNP paths reduce flight distances (up to 23 NM at Kuching Airport and 18 NM at Kota Bharu) and utilize lower thrust settings, saving fuel and reducing emissions.
GE FES, and AirAsia have collaborated with the local Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) on the nation-wide flight path program since 2012: The Flight Efficiency Services team are delivering and maintaining precision guided approaches at 15 airports in Malaysia, 4 in Indonesia and 4 in Thailand.
Captain Gill, who leads the implementation of the RNP program, noted.
“Safety is the first concern of every aircraft operator, and RNP fits the bill. With carefully engineered approach procedures precisely repeated every time, RNP is greatly increasing the safety of our operation, ensuring stabilized approaches – every time, with automatic missed approach procedures, and no more ILS signal distortion. We are also able to go to places that we could not before - rain or shine, enabling access to markets not possible with conventional navigation, with reduced instances of weather cancellations and diversions”.
Real-time analytics on a dashboard
GE FES collects data generated by the aircraft and its systems and applies proprietary technology to help AirAsia better manage their operations. The best of breed analytical tools deliver actionable insights that save fuel, reduce costs and drive out inefficiencies: One example is the Fuel Management Dashboard, which was rolled out to AirAsia in March 2014.
- Optimization of climb profiles
- Single engine taxi operations
- Use of sophisticated statistical algorithms to plan taxi and contingency fuel requirements; and
- Optimization of departure tracks; and
- Minimization of the use of APU
The Dashboard, supported by other analytical tools within the FES suite, has allowed AirAsia to implement a comprehensive program of initiatives that are truly digitally enabled, including:
Looking ahead, with the international commercial airline industry experiencing growth 2-3 times faster than the global economy over the last decade, the potential scale of the application of the Industrial Internet to the sector is huge and growing. This is something that GE and AirAsia are well aware of as they continue their collaboration in the years to come.