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I recently attended the 2012 ATA e-Business Forum in Scottsdale.  This year’s event was excellent – launched with a thought provoking keynote given by Ray Valeika, retired from Delta TechOps.  The agenda was great and the attendance was strong; however, there’s a need to increase participation from the operator community – they’re a key pillar to the Forum’s continual success!

The aircraft operators are critical to helping advance the Industry Standards.  They have invaluable insight and information on the asset while it’s in-service.  Thus, the operators influence important criteria for ensuring the advancement of valid standards – elements that will drive more efficiency in the market and keep competition healthy.  Also, having operator commitment helps to ensure broad adoption.  Ultimately, they then become a key beneficiary, with improvements directly helping their bottom-line. 

During the 2012 event there were important updates that highlighted the need for more committee work.  Here are a few that are noteworthy, with a corresponding incentive to the operator community:

Event Highlights:

How the Operator Benefits:

→   The advancement of digital signatures and the need to move away from paper based processes…

ü Maintenance is still a predominately paper based process.  Significant savings will occur with electronic work instructions & signoffs.

→   The further deployment of RFID technology to add more visibility in part tracking, as well as remove some manual steps in the inspection process.

ü Operators manually perform repetitive inspections – some aspects can be automated using RFID technology.

→   The growing inefficiencies in the leased aircraft turn-ins process and; the need for standards to facilitate better knowledge transfer…

ü Advancement in electronic information exchange will reverse the escalating processing costs and reduce hand-over delays.

Yes, these are just a subset of the issues that circulated during the event; however, collectively they have the potential to save the industry millions of dollars.  Once adopted, the airlines stand to make significant improvements, which translates into greater operating efficiencies and cost savings for their bottom-line.

As an Industry it is imperative that we continue to support the ATA e-Business Forum.  Equally important is our mandate to encourage more operator participation.  Their unique position provides the working groups invaluable insight that will help shape the right elements within the required standards.  It is through our collective participation that we will accelerate the advancements in information exchange the industry desperately requires.

I thought this year’s ATA e-Business Forum was a great event – what did you think?  While it was great to see many airlines in attendance, I would like to see more participation from this group – do you agree?  If so, what are your thoughts for encouraging more operators to engage in the next Forum?

If you didn’t attend this year’s ATA e-Business Forum you can view the complete agenda at the ATA website: http://www.ataebiz.org/forum/Agenda_2012.htm

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