International Paris Air Show: 5 trends to transform aeronautic

by Youssoupha Diop - Chief Technology Officer - Aeroline chez Sopra Steria
| minutes read

The 53rd International Paris Air Show 2019 has confirmed the mounting fierce competition in the world of aeronautics. In this context, data, digital tools and artificial intelligence are now understood to be precious bargaining chips to accelerate transformation and turn these challenges into opportunities.

Whilst the 2019 Paris Air Show has resolutely confirmed the commercial energy in the sector by generating some 140 billion EUR (126 billion GBP) in contracts, it has also highlighted the challenges faced by the aeronautic industry. Of course, the most striking and easily anticipated phenomenon is the huge rise in air traffic coming over the next few years. This has brought about some major issues in terms of productivity and timing, not only for manufacturers but for all contractors and suppliers across the value chain.

This increased demand comes with heightened compliance requirements, in turn leading to new expectations in terms of service quality, traceability and maintenance. Even though they are still facing competition, the sector also needs to figure out how to come to terms with a new problem with image reputation: the general public is expressing growing concern over the environmental impact of air travel.

Strengthen collaboration across the whole value chain

Matters of transformation are already well underway at large aircraft manufacturers. But these matters now concern suppliers too, as they now also have to monitor the movement to guarantee their own industrial performance and to be in a position to supply this buyer-led movement. Going digital concerns all activities in the sector, from industrial production itself to the supply chain, maintenance and even tracking orders.

But this is not just a question of going digital: companies need to be ready to integrate the data-sharing programmes developed by some of the sector’s biggest names. In this respect, the Skywise platform developed by Airbus is one of the first initiatives of this type. Originally developed for maintenance purposes, Skywise has been gradually enhanced in an aim to meet the operational needs expressed by airlines, as well as opening up to external suppliers. Aligning with this process is becoming a matter of competitive edge for Tier 1 suppliers, resulting in a ripple effect spreading, little by little, across the entire value chain. The company’s published aim is to make the platform a bona fide ‘app store’, specialised in digital transformation catered to the entire aeronautic industry.

For European aircraft manufacturers, as for the rest of the sector, involving data specialists in these considerations is one way of accelerating new service developments. It also aims to answer – at least partly – the crucial question regarding the need for higher expertise in innovation.

GIFAS (the French aerospace industries association) in particular, successfully concluded phase 2 of its national programme for improving supply chain performance aimed at 300 SMEs and mid-sized companies in the sector. The ‘Industrie du Futur’ programme (Industry of the Future) is now taking the reins, actively encouraging the migration towards Industry 4.0, fostering collaboration between suppliers and buyers, and also securing information and production systems.

With these programmes, manufacturers are looking to bolster collaboration between all stakeholders in the value chain to raise their performance on a long term basis.

Optimise and rationalise business

Boeing’s 737 Max may have stolen the show in 2017, but it was the Airbus A321 XLR that won over delegates in 2019. These aircraft were not produced as part of a new programme, however: rather they symbolise the prominent trend for large manufacturers to optimise and rationalise, a trend which is now spreading across the industry.

Out of all the elements in the chain, data, simulation tools and artificial intelligence are competing to improve energy efficiency as well as to reduce CO2 emissions. From engine manufacturers to airlines, flight data that optimises take-off and landing sequences are being analysed, where possible, to reduce kerosene consumption, travel time and noise pollution reported by residents.

Analysis tools are frequently used in aeronautics as they benefit from data which has been aggregated internally and enhanced by resources not only from other departments but also from suppliers, partners or clients. From design to manufacture, maintenance to operations, the main occupations in the industry are benefiting from the gradual disappearance of silos.

Accelerate thanks to virtual and augmented reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) remain important allies to the aeronautic industry, which was one of the first industries to adopt widespread use of VR and AR. The 2019 show has confirmed their interest in different scenarios specialised in design, compliance, maintenance and training. But the time for experimenting has come to an end: all the biggest names in the sector are now integrating applications directly in the production chain.

Whilst demonstrations have proven their worth, there are still some expectations that need to be met in regards to equipment, such as the development of more ergonomic and automatic devices. Today, smartphones and tablets account for the bulk of devices in factories and workshops, whereas smart glasses and other headsets are often perceived as being too cumbersome. Could the HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset launched by Microsoft last year be a gamechanger?

Transforming air space into mobile space

Aeronautic transformation covers a wider scope than just industry. It also mobilises air traffic regulation authorities which are constantly seeking to optimise traffic flow. It’s still too soon to see the wide-scale deployment of robot pilots on passenger flights, however, the rise in drones is boosting interest in operating and regulatory matters. The development of taxi-robot prototypes presented at the 2019 show by various manufacturers has also paved the way for R&D activities that could be useful in more traditional business activities. Regulating airspace is the key to making it a mobile space in the truest sense and initiatives are underway: aeronautic security bodies have recently proposed an EU-wide charter to regulate the use of drones in airspace which should be ratified by 2020.

Reducing the carbon footprint

In Sweden, ‘flygskam’ is a growing movement. It brings together environmentally conscious travellers hesitant of using air travel and who prefer alternative solutions such as the train. At the beginning of June, French ministers proposed a bill to ban domestic flights where the journey is achievable in less than 5 hours by train. The environmental issue is hugely important for the aeronautic industry. Green fuels, hybridisation and electric propulsion are giving rise to many new experiments, indicating that the sector has fully understood the urgency of the environmental crisis. The current tests underway may have little bearing on medium and long-haul traffic, but electric power seems to be finding some openings for small aircraft and short-haul flights. Completely electric planes aren’t available yet, however, this technology performs as an alternative to the main reactors in use during taxi, replacing them with an electric engine in the landing gear.

The 2019 edition may not have revealed any disruptive innovations but it has confirmed two fundamental trends: rationalisation and improvement. It confirms that the movement toward innovation has already begun. Advancements in 3D, data and artificial intelligence are now finding their rightful place across the entire value chain. Originating among big buyers, digital is trickling down to small suppliers and should continue to feed into the future transformation of the aeronautics business.



Related content

Related contents

Urban Air Mobility: will the future of mobility be in the air?

While the dream of the flying car has often been reserved for science fiction, a very practical and real future is gradually emerging for urban air mobility.

More on this topic

Sopra Steria: a key company in innovative ecosystems

"In our open and connected world, no player can claim they have full control of the value chain including innovation. Innovations emerge every day from all digital players, whether they are large companies, start-ups, private and public research laboratories or competitive clusters.” Jean-Bernard Rampini, Executive Innovation & Corporate Venture at Sopra Steria

Supply Chain Management in Aerospace: maximising agility with AI-based risk monitoring

| Benoit Spolidor, Maxime Claisse

One of the main challenges of today’s Aerospace Supply Chain Practitioners is to manage their operations in such a complex and volatile environment. The Supply Chain purpose of fulfilling customer service promise while controlling costs within the overall industrial chain has become harder, in particular because Aerospace manufacturers are facing a lack of visibility in their supply and delivery processes.

How can Artificial Intelligence support the performances of Aerospace Supply Chain?

| Benoit Spolidor, Maxime Claisse

Artificial Intelligence is having a positive impact on almost every industry. It improves decision making processes, creating fast and consistent operations management. In the specific field of Aerospace, our conviction is that to be fully efficient, AI must be developed with dedicated characterics. Sopra Steria invests on these features for sustainable and large scale transformation by AI for Aerospace companies.

Remote experts help technicians on-site

| Torbjørn Meland

New technology helps maintain production and increase productivity at operating facilities by reducing the need to send technical experts between factories. By using HoloLens 2, Microsoft Teams, Intune and Dynamics 365 combined with a design-drive process, you can get a solution that gives on-site technicians support and help from remote experts.

AI lead Software Engineering: Sopra Steria Ecosystem Offerings

| Jérôme Perdriaud, Satish Srivastava

Apart from internally developed IP’s given in the previous edition we also have an ecosystem of mature market leading companies, start-ups as well as labs and universities to build competency in their offerings and use them to help our clients. Following are some of the offerings from the ecosystem.

AI led Software Engineering: Sopra Steria Offerings

| Jérôme Perdriaud, Satish Srivastava

Sopra Steria has been investing in AI led software engineering in order to help our clients not only reduce cost and gain efficiency but also empower their businesses by making the processes more responsive and scalable.

AI led Software Engineering Use cases: Application to Testing, Deployment & Operations

| Jérôme Perdriaud, Satish Srivastava

In the previous edition of the series, we have seen how AI transforms the software engineering lifecycle, specifically Management, Requirements, design and development phases. In this edition we will see how subsequent Testing, Deployment and Operations activities are affected by AI.

AI led Software Engineering Use Cases: Application to Development

| Jérôme Perdriaud, Satish Srivastava

In the previous edition of the series, we have seen how AI transforms the software engineering lifecycle, specifically Management, Requirements gathering, Design phases. In this edition we will see how software development activities are affected by AI.

AI led Software Engineering Use Cases: Application to Requirements & Design

| Jérôme Perdriaud, Satish Srivastava

In the previous edition of the series, we have seen how AI transforms the software engineering lifecycle, specifically Management phases. In this edition we will see how Requirement engineering is affected by AI.

Innovating in Pursuit of Climate Action and Environmental Sustainability

| Avinash Lunj, Siva Niranjan

From reducing carbon footprint to improving energy efficiency, the surge of sustainable business continues to increase in prominence. To attract new business, talent and investment, companies are required to demonstrate, that they are putting their climate change strategies into action.

Digital Innovation Factory: Which technical platform select and how operate it over the time?

| Béatrice Rollet, Simon Herd

As seen previously, digital experience and platform offerings call for a massive amount of software with frequent new services, and regularly updated and deleted new features. Long-established companies adopting an Enterprise Platform model must then own a new Digital Innovation Factory encompassing a Technical Platform.

Digital Innovation Factory: How to reshape your software development activities at the era of cloud-native application?

| Béatrice Rollet, Neil Anderson

60% of backend developers use containers in their work. Relying on cloud-native technologies, defining as modern applications packaged in containers, deployed as micro-services, running on elastic infrastructure, and managed through agile DevSecOps processes fits very well with large enterprise who very often encompass a wide variety of software technologies.

The Enterprise Platform and the CIO at the age of the new normal

| Béatrice Rollet, Marlon Bromfield

Covid-19 pandemic has showed that the most digitalized companies, the digital-first companies, were the un-constable winner of this challenging period. Providing business activities through advanced digital experiences or platform offerings, these companies has kept their customers and partners engaged and happy in this challenging period.

AI led Software Engineering Use Cases: Application to Project Management activities

| Jérôme Perdriaud, Satish Srivastava

Using various AI techniques such as machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), information visualization etc it is possible to guide the software engineering professionals with AI enabled decision making and automations. 

AI led Software Engineering

| Jérôme Perdriaud, Satish Srivastava

CIOs are expected to partner business, and at times leads, the delivery of digital transformation. The existing IT landscape of a company needs to be rationalized and modernized to be able to achieve the expected business velocity.

Conversational Assistants: go to scale

| Patrick Meyer

74% of French companies consider chatbots as a lever for digital transformation and more than a third have already deployed one. By 2020, 80% of them could use a chat assistant. A massive deployment that echoes consumer habits: 69% prefer the bot to a human exchange.

How can you use your IT assets to achieve digital transformation?

| Andre Bakland, Simon Herd, Béatrice Rollet

According to Gartner, for every dollar invested in digitalisation in 2020, three dollars will have to be invested in the modernisation of IT assets. Therefore, opting for the right evolution strategy becomes a crucial issue. Read more.

How Data Science can help in a pandemic situation?

| Marlon Cárdenas

With the aim of covering current and future needs of society, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence are seeking to drive the creation of technological solutions that benefit users in their daily lives. Many disciplines are uniting behind this cause, with health sciences to the fore, especially given the current context of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

How holographic technology is helping doctors deliver better care

| Scott Leaman

Long gone are the days when holograms were the stuff of sci-fi movies and video games. Holographic technology is taking the medical world by storm, and by the looks of it, it’s here to stay. So how exactly is this technology helping doctors, and what are the major developments that we expect in the near future?

How will artificial intelligence transform industry?

| Maxime Claisse, Alexis Girin, Benoit Spolidor

Whilst there is no set definition of artificial intelligence as of yet, experts are in agreement that AI can simulate human cognitive capabilities such as perception, reasoning, action, and learning. AI now promises to completely transform the industrial sector – one of its primary applications.

International Paris Air Show: 5 trends to transform aeronautic

| Youssoupha Diop

The 53rd International Paris Air Show 2019 has confirmed the mounting fierce competition in the world of aeronautics. In this context, data, digital tools and artificial intelligence are now understood to be precious bargaining chips to accelerate transformation and turn these challenges into opportunities.

Anticipate cloud migration with FinOps

| Marlène Seif, Béatrice Rollet

Innovative and fast cloud services are crucial to digital transformation initiatives. Whilst there is no textbook model on how to adopt these services, it is nonetheless vital for companies to integrate them as fully optimised services in order to control their ROI.

From product to services: Flying the Aeronautics Industry into the Digital Future

| Philippe Armandon, Gaudérique Garrigue

With increasing travel demand and new competitors entering the market, aircraft manufacturers today are under considerable pressure.

How to control and optimise your cloud costs

| Didier Teixeira, Béatrice Rollet, Frédéric Janicot

Using public cloud services means rethinking your IT financial management. 

ASD S5000F: taking Aircraft MRO to new heights?

| Cyrille Greffe

In the 1990s, the combination of computer-aided design (CAD) and the concept of modular documentation gave rise to the first ASD standards (AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe).

Application replatforming: the Cloud migration booster

| Benjamin Chossat

Simple set-up, low cost and access to the horizontal elasticity of the Cloud: replatforming is often considered the best solution for porting a business application to the Cloud.

7 key strategies to transform applications with the Cloud

| Benjamin Chossat

How to modernise an application efficiently using the Cloud?

Innovating in pursuit of environmental sustainability

| Siva Niranjan

To attract new business, talent and investment, companies have had to demonstrate their environmental credentials more and more over the past years to wide range of stakeholders including institutional investors, regulators, clients, and employees.

Urban Air Mobility: will the future of mobility be in the air?

| David Elmalem, Sébastien Lautier

While the dream of the flying car has often been reserved for science fiction, a very practical and real future is gradually emerging for urban air mobility.

Guidance is the key for adapting DevOps to big business

| Gauthier Deschamps

DevOps is revolutionising agile transformation for big business. The method was initially focussed on software building but by automating production, it frees up resources so as to better resolve organisational and human malfunctions.

How Blockchain technology can improve Industry 4.0’s cybersecurity

| Alexandre Eich Gozzi

Earlier this year, the world’s largest container shipping company Maersk fell victim to a massive ransomware attack from the infamous NotPetya malware.