The scene above shows a dust plume over the Red Sea in a recent image collected by the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite. Aircraft exposure to environmental factors, including dust, sulphur, ice and volcanic ash, accelerates wear of engine and airframe components, and may pose a threat to flight safety. The combined process of aircraft inspection and scheduled maintenance overhaul underpins the safety of flight.
Unscheduled maintenance is costly and causes disruption to airline operator flight schedules. In 2016, sulphur, found in both air pollution and jet fuel, damaged turbine components in engines powering ANA Dreamliner aircraft and cost Rolls-Royce more than £64M in unscheduled maintenance in the context of ‘power-by-the-hour’ services. The annual cost of environment-related impacts on aviaiton is challenging to quanitify, but is in the $billions. With improved digital environmental intelligence, a large proportion of these costs could be mitigated.
Satavia’s mission is to enable aircraft original equipment manufacturers and operators to minimise unscheduled aircraft maintenance caused by the environment. Our solution is a patent-pending cloud-based Big Data platform that combines technology from numerical weather prediction, Earth Observation, and live aircraft tracking, to provide environmental factor exposure products for individual aircraft. The aim is to extend the number of flight cycles between overhaul, which would save $millions per engine in lifetime maintenance costs, and reduce the cost of aircraft ownership.