Mahesh Kumar Jaya Kumar, CEO Adnan Mansur, Head of Digital & Innovation
The pandemic has undeniably created havoc in the aviation industry, disrupting the operations of most airlines world over. AirAsia is no different. Like many others, this leading low cost airline also faced unprecedented issues with yearlong lockdowns and travel bans. While many struggled through the after effects, AirAsia turned the crisis into an opportunity and leveraged its legacy of disrupting the airline industry to change the game completely. It took a strategic shift towards embracing digital technologies. The company turned the pandemic and the subsequent downtime of f lying into an opportunity to fast-track its digital transformation by accelerating the growth of its non-airline businesses to deliver new revenue streams. The establishment of Asia Digital Engineering (ADE) is one example of this strategy. Starting out as a cost centre, the engineering department has now evolved into an independent organization that is set to become a prominent revenue driver for the AirAsia Group.
“We leverage our longstanding experience in managing the world’s best low-cost airline’s MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) operations to offer a comprehensive suite of services ranging from line maintenance to heavy maintenance checks and digital products,” says Mahesh Kumar Jaya Kumar, the CEO of ADE. This allows AirAsia to break its dependency on third-party maintenance providers and contain cash f low within. ADE is also extending its services to other third-party customers, at a competitive rate with the highest standards of safety and quality. “We aim to consolidate resources, provide industry leading service, and utilize digital solutions to optimize our operations,” adds Kumar.
ADE’s line maintenance services include all aircraft checks below C-Check intervals, while base maintenance covers C-checks, engine and landing gear change, and aircraft weighing. With its workshop services, clients can get their aircrafts’ wheels, brakes, and batteries repaired and overhauled and eventually also ADE will venture into component cleaning, engine kit replacement, and NDT inspection.
ADE’s engineering support is dedicated to providing top quality consultancy services, including aircraft delivery and redelivery management, technical audit, and more. Additionally, the company offers digital & innovation services to provide industry leading digital solutions for automating processes within the MRO and airline environment.
“We are an innovative data and technology-driven MRO that enables optimal results,” says Adnan Mansur, Head of Digital & Innovation at ADE. What gives ADE the extra edge is its ability to optimize warehouse space utilization by deploying three automated racking systems and IoT devices that update the availability of parts, storage, and space in real-time. By leveraging Big data and predictive analytics and using an ML-powered forecasting application, the company intelligently manages stock availability, predicts demand and part requirements, and foresees potential outages. Blockchain would enable distributed document authentication and parts history to ensure that the validity of parts is always maintained at the optimal level.
“Furthermore, ADE’s cloud-enabled facility would allow seamless collaboration between warehouse management systems and managing operations remotely in the near future. With the advances in handheld and wearable devices and smart sensors, the company would be able to automate its workf lows and monitoring tasks, improving overall operational efficiency and product quality. Leveraging on the robotic tools and robotic process automation (RPA) to increase productivity, reduce human errors, and automate repetitive tasks to keep human resources for value-added and decision making tasks are its main priorities.
“Another unique aspect about ADE is its agility and adaptability that helps to quickly address the airline industry’s varying requirements. The company’s close relationship with suppliers is also a key factor to its success. It leverages this liaison and pre-project discussions with suppliers to build disruptive services and solutions that set ADE apart from legacy industry players. To meet airline operators’ separate buying decisions when it comes to aircraft parts, ADE consolidates inventory from the AirAsia Group into a pool of parts, helping them reduce expenses on new parts and centralize the whole procurement process. The pool of parts provides visibility to the whole group and reduces new part purchases while the centralized approach eliminates unnecessary competition between operators.
“As a young and agile company, we are striving to continue innovating and serving clients with best of breed technologies by adapting to their needs quickly. We are also planning to enhance our in-house capabilities and resources to not only just stay ahead of the competition but exceed clients’ expectations,” concludes Kumar