Boeing recently announced more services and digital solutions contracts than it did widebody airliner contracts.
So Yocova, the end-to end platform for innovation in aviation, took the opportunity to ask senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing Ihssane Mounir some questions about Boeing’s services and digital strategy — but first, those digital and services orders.
Announced at the show were a raft of deals spanning large full-service airlines to low-cost carriers, startups and micro-airlines, highlighting just how important this digital and services sector is becoming to all parts of commercial aviation.
Air France is taking Boeing’s Jeppesen Crew Management solution on a five-year contract basis to optimise and manage some 13,000 crew schedules.
The solution, Boeing says, “leverages an industry-leading optimization engine to construct productive and balanced crew rosters by considering complex factors such as legal requirements, training, crew availability, crew preferences, reserves and other critical factors.
“The powerful optimizers allow for faster roster construction, closer to the day of operation, which support greater operational stability and opportunities to capture additional revenue.”
Norse Atlantic — the new Norwegian longhaul low-cost carrier — is to use a suite of solutions for flight deck operations, MRO, payload optimisation, navigation and more.
These include Jeppesen FlightDeck Pro, Ground Controls and Tailored Maps, Aviator/FliteBrief, Onboard Performance Tool (OPT), Ops Data and FMS NavData.
Norse previously launched Boeing Mobile Logbook and is already a customer for the company’s MRO management products Software Distribution Manager and Maintenance Performance Toolbox.
Three airlines — Albawings, Corendon Dutch Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic — are selecting the company’s Jeppesen FliteDeck Advisor, which Boeing says “analyses airplane-specific performance metrics for all Boeing aircraft, including changes over time with aircraft age and maintenance action.
“The tool enables flight crews to make real-time adjustments to their airspeed to optimise fuel use and minimise the carbon footprint of each flight.”
During a three-month trial of the product on its Boeing aircraft, Virgin Atlantic noted fuel savings in cruise of 1.7 percent, or some 1,900kg of CO2 emissions reduced per flight across the trial.
Albanian low-cost carrier Albawings is taking both FliteDeck Advisor and Boeing’s Maintenance Performance Toolbox, which “allows operators to increase the efficiency of their maintenance operations and manage, distribute, process and view intelligent maintenance documentation in a uniform digital format through a single interface, regardless of aircraft manufacturer or engine type”, Boeing says.
Leisure-focussed Corendon Dutch Airlines is picking up FliteDeck Advisor and the Fuel Dashboard app, which “offers users a comprehensive fleet view of operational fuel consumption, providing insights into fuel usage through all phases of flight,” with Boeing stating that “the solution routinely saves users between 1 and 4 percent in fuel costs.”
Interestingly, these deals were decoupled from aircraft orders
At this year’s Farnborough Airshow, Yocova spotted that the services and digital sales weren’t associated directly with any aircraft sales, and vice versa. So Yocova put that question to Boeing’s chief salesman Ihssane Mounir: when it comes to the sales process, how are these being packaged together?
“When we embarked on this journey of setting up Boeing Global Services, we knew that there was there was definitely a value in bringing the total lifecycle solution to the table,” Mounir tells Yocova.
“We’re practising that in these in these campaigns and these engagements with customers.
“So we have both these type of approaches. In many cases, the two go hand in hand.
“But certainly airlines — and us — don’t wait until there is an actual aeroplane purchase to select services.”
“Services,” Mounir explains, “are total standalone value add, from the perspective of it doesn’t matter whether you buy aeroplanes or not, the fleet that you have needs optimisation, could need modifications, needs support.
“And that’s where we come in with solutions that we have or that is addressing optimisation for the operation, digital tools for flight ops work, or logistics, and so on.”
Boeing, Mounir says, aims to address the total lifecycle cost of an aircraft — essentially, factoring the net present value of the asset as well as the operational cost of the asset — which can in some cases be up to four or five times the capital cost of the aircraft.
“We try to approach that from the get-go,” he tells us.
“And we have an incredibly competitive suite of offerings that nobody has.
“You have to go to 30, 40 companies to get different services, while we have all of them that we can patch package together at the point of sale.”
Mounir highlights that Boeing has been working closely with airlines selecting the forthcoming 777-8F cargo aircraft, using the latest digital tools.
“We have been engaging with Cargolux, we have been engaging with Qatar we have been engaging with Lufthansa, we have been engaging with Ethiopian — all those who have made a commitment to the 777-8F, we’ve been engaging with them and what they need,” Mounir says.
“There are some exciting things we’re doing that we hadn’t done before, especially on the digital front: using digital tools to optimise how you load, using digital tools on optimising the efficiency of the contours, for example, of the pallets going into an airplane, and and how you can take advantage of every single inch of that contour.”
Indeed, Mounir says, Boeing is bringing an operational focus, which also has sustainability benefits, at an early stage to the aircraft.
“We also have an opportunity to make the aeroplane as efficient from a navigation standpoint, so that you don’t spend too much time doing things you shouldn’t be doing — for air traffic control and so on — burning fuel unnecessarily,” Mounir tells Yocova.
“It has an optimisation of flight deck, it has an optimisation of nav aids… I could go on and on. We are in the development phase, [so] we could incorporate these things.
“It’s pretty exciting, and that factored into the decisions that we have seen some of these airlines taking.”