Solving Complexities in Aircraft Lease Management with Digital Twins

Jagriti Kumar
September 12, 2022
3 min read
Did you know that almost half of all commercial planes in the world are leased?

As per CAPA - Centre for Aviation, there are 31,000+ aircraft globally, of which 48% of these are leased. Ordering new aircraft is a major milestone for any airline, involving research, demand, and, most importantly, the capital. Because of this, many airlines prefer leasing an aircraft, this also allows airlines to add aircraft to their fleet without any ownership risks, introducing much-needed flexibility.

Challenges in Aircraft Leasing and Maintenance

However, aircraft lessors and MROs (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) encounter significant challenges in maintaining these leased aircraft. A lessor must consider the entire aircraft lifecycle, often encompassing multiple leases. This approach extends beyond just the redelivery of the aircraft. Lessees, conversely, focus solely on their operations and lease term, as their use of the aircraft is for a predetermined period. If a lessor requires the lessee to present documentation of repairs, alterations, or other inspection records in a consolidated format, retrieving all documentation and  compiling a complete historical records file can be a time-consuming and often impossible operation.

This difference in perspective often leads to varying interpretations of maintenance requirements.

Leading challenges with redelivery of aircrafts

The Maintenance Process

Maintaining baseline airworthiness standards (FAA or EASA) is essential, along with meeting lessees' local requirements. A challenging aspect for lessors is consolidating the entire lifecycle documentation for repairs, alterations, and inspections - a time-consuming and sometimes impossible task. For physical inspections, aircraft are anchored in a hangar and thoroughly examined for potential damages by aircraft engineers and structural specialists. The inspection process is under pressure to be quick, as grounded aircraft do not generate revenue, especially when a new lessee is awaiting delivery.

Challenges in current aircraft inspection process

For visual inspections independent of their type, aircrafts are tethered to a hanger and thoroughly inspected for probable damages. These inspection procedures are performed by aircraft engineers and aircraft structure engineers. But factors such as the inspector's visual acuity and the work environment, which are impacted by weather, lightning, and additional equipment, continue to influence aircraft inspections. Since the aircraft remains grounded and doesn’t generate revenue during the maintenance period, it builds a huge amount of stress on these engineers to complete the inspection process as soon as possible; especially when a new lessee has already contracted to pick up the aircraft. So the field engineers focus more on taking pictures and making notes instead of the intricate details which cause gaps in crucial information. If the physical condition record is incomplete, the aviation authorities refuse to authorize the usage of the aircraft under the new lessee's AOC (Air Operator Certificate). This leads to repetitive physical inspection examinations and a delay in the aircraft lease return process, which cost millions.

Introducing Fabrik's Maintenance Digital Twin

This is where Fabrik becomes a game-changer in the aviation industry. Fabrik's maintenance digital twin of the aircraft offers a precise 3D visual representation, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of inspection reports. This digital twin provides a unified repository for an aircraft's lifecycle, detailing all damage reports and dent-and-buckle charts. It effectively captures tacit knowledge, eliminates subjective interpretations, and reduces the need for constant communication between stakeholders.

Fabrik's Digital Twin of an Aircraft for Inspection details

Our intuitive and interactive user interface enables engineers to conduct inspections and deliver reports efficiently within set timeframes. The digital twin also includes interactive 3D checklists and guided workflows, based on technical documents from OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), assisting engineers in performing accurate maintenance procedures. During audits, this technology provides unbiased, easy-to-understand reports that outline activity status and necessary actions before transitioning to a new operator.

Conclusion: Creating a Digital Thread for Aircraft Lifecycle

Fabrik aims to create a continuous digital thread for each aircraft, allowing tracking of the aircraft's health throughout its lifecycle. We invite you to weave your aircraft's digital thread with us, enhancing efficiency, reliability, and safety in the aircraft leasing and maintenance process.

Weave your aircraft's digital thread with us.

Learn how Fabrik can
transform your business
Today is the day to build the business of your dreams. Share your mission with the world — and blow your customers away