Paris Airshow 2017

Blockchain set to disrupt aviation within 2 years claims Accenture

Key Points
  • Accenture backing blockchain for Aerospace industry
  • Estimates industry will take 2 years to adopt blockchain in a meaningful way
  • Claims technology will save on maintenance costs
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Consultants in the aerospace industry are backing blockchain technology to drive down the huge cost of plane maintenance.

Blockchain has been described as a single ledger that can record information from several different parties and then allows users to access a single record of information.

"I really see this coming in, in a couple of years," said John Schmidt, head of Aerospace and Defense at Accenture, speaking at the Paris Air Show.

Schmidt uses engine maintenance as an example of how airlines can avoid carrying out wasteful work.

"Through all that life cycle of the engine, the original parts, the replacement parts and configuration are all being tracked, and it is being done by a number of different companies.

"Blockchain is in effect a single federated ledger that everybody who uses and touches that engine could use it as a single point of truth of what has happened to the engine," he explained.

Schmidt said that with blockchain data, engineers who may have never worked on the plane will know precisely the configuration, parts list, and usage data.

What is Blockchain?

Schmidt said maintenance crews currently only look at "macro factors" such as how long an engine has been in use

"The reality is an engine has high-pressure and low-pressure usage and each of these may impact the true number of cycles the engine has achieved in its life," he added.

The aviation consultant also noted there's currently a trend to contract busy engineering teams just because they have previously worked on the same engine.

He said blockchain would provide a wealth of information that could allow a less busy maintenance team to get to work.

"My inclination would be to use a shop that has already worked on the engine, but that shop may have a 30-day backlog.

"With blockchain, you can look at what other options might be available," he said.

Schmidt says work still needs to be done to convince airlines, plane manufacturers, and service contractors but Accenture is fully backing blockchain technology.

"It is something we can see clearly in terms of the benefits and we effectively have a patent pending on how to leverage blockchain in the aftermarket."