Blockchain, wat will it bring to the aerospace and airport industry?

That was the theme of our General Members Assembly  that was held on the 6th of December at Breda International Airport.  We were happy to welcome almost 100 members and potential members. Many thanks to the Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (BOM) for hosting this event.

During the formal part of the General Members Assembly the annual plan for 2018 was presented.

Everybody’s talking about blockchain, but what does it mean to our sector? Lara Plandsoen, Blockchain Consulant at IBM, gave an introductory presentation on the theme “Fundamentals of blockchain, what will be the potential”.
After that a specialist from each segment draw some practical applications and a future outlook:

  • Airport Development & Infrastructure: Maureen Gribnau,Innovation Manager at Schiphol Group;
  • Aircraft Maintenance: Wouter Kalfsbeek, KLM E&M Team
    Lead Big Data Product Team;
  • (Aircraft) Manufacuturing: Lara Plandsoen.

Just like previous General Members Assemblies we offered the participants the opportunity to discuss current topics with colleagues within their own segment:

Airport Development and Infrastructure
During the segment meeting of Airport Development & Infrastructure, the subject of blockchain was further discussed in presence of Maureen Gribnau of Schiphol and Ines Verburgh of Transavia. The general opinion was that the application of blockchain is inevitable, but it is still fairly unknown and therefore not yet seen as a must-do. Maureen and Ines explained how they started to work with blockchain. They see clear advantage in working together in this way. The best advice they can give is to start small, develop the cooperation further and try to learn during the process. Almost everybody on the table thinks it is a development we cannot ignore, although not everybody has an idea how to start or with whom. The NAG will take the initiative to study this further. The discussion resulted in an exchange of ideas on Airport developments & Infrastructure which was very interesting.
Next, Gerik vd Berg of HorYZon showed us examples of cooperation between various parties, leading to a development that benefits all. Examples were the safety platform of IJmuiden, the wind energy facility in the North Sea and the High Tech campus in Eindhoven. What we can learn from it, is that different companies with different interests are capable of working together and creating something that can benefit all. With this in mind, there was a discussion how every company can benefit from their membership with the NAG. It turns out that there is interest in trade missions and sharing of knowledge related to (possible) clients, rather than sharing a booth on an exhibition. This was very helpful for the NAG to focus on the right actions.

Aircraft Maintenance
The Aircraft Maintenance subgroup continued the discussion about blockchain. Wouter Kalfsbeek (KLM E&M Team Lead Big Data Product Team) started the discussion with the statement that tenthousands of (flight performance) data are continue available during flight operations. Subsets are used for all kinds of MRO-operations. At this moment the owner of these data isn’t the aircraft –OEM ore, an outside MRO-provider, but the airliner is. Blockchain will change this. The entrance to the blockchain-network will be the new crucial element. Because blockchain is about transactions it is possible that all kinds of “regulations” by FAA, EASA, ICAO will be integrated in the blockchain network. In that case an airliner can only fly when it is connected to the blockchain network. Entrance to the network is being certificated as organisation. Therefore it is important to follow the early development of these networks in the branche. The future role of small MRO providers is doubtfull (will they get entrance to the network). The “super massive of data” in aviation is seen as an ennemy in using blockchain technology.
Auke Nouwens (ADSE) presented the latest trends in the MRO-market. Thousands of new aircrafts will enter the market specially in the East but also in Europe and the USA. This will lead to the discussion about the shortage in qualified MRO-personel.
Ko van Amerongen (Ministry of Economic Affairs – CMP) showed us how Industrial Partnership opportunities and compensation can be very beneficial for MRO companies if these companies will establish contact with CMP.

Aircraft Manufacturing
Three topics where discussed during our segment meeting. The first topic dealt with potential benefits and impact of block chain technology for aircraft manufacturing and the supply chain. Benefits have been identified in in exchanging data on tracking and tracing, certifications of organisations and key staff and production forecasts, orders and schedules. Contract requirements that already exist may prove useful in determining the if-then-else logic needed in implementing block chains for business purposes but a significant effort is required to translate these contract requirements (commercial, IP). and government regulations (certification, ITAR, privacy) from document driven ways of working into database driven. Currently used portals can be seen as an intermediate step. Questions that came up where “who is already involved in block chain”? (answer Boeing and other big companies), “how fast will this technology come to the market”? (answer – we do not know), “what will governments do, and how fast”? (answer – we do not know), “will this require some sort of standardisation sooner or later”? ( answer – most likely).
The second topic was the introduction of Boeing’s plans for cooperation in the Benelux/Nordic countries by Mrs Tineke Bakker-van der Veen, the new managing area director. Apart from already ongoing discussions with (potential) suppliers in commercial and military aircraft and space applications, Boeing seeks further cooperation on new materials and manufacturing processes (like composites and 3D printing) and calls for proposals that could lead to disruptive innovations for aircraft, space, supply chains, training and support. Boeing also pointed out that they are interested in participating in projects to inspire particularly the youth with air transport and aircraft related technology challenges. The presentation led to a lot of network activities afterwards.

Last but not least we made a quick inventory of areas of interest for future segment meetings. The following three subjects came up. Future scenario’s and potential timelines for more or all electric aircraft technology introduction. Developments of air transport that could change the way we build, operate and maintain aircraft. The impact of all the known and foreseeable technology changes on required knowledge and further learning of the professionals in the industry (it is obvious that these developments will require continued learning but how?).

The owner of the airport, Stef Have, provided a short introduction to Breda International Airport.

George Tielen and John van Gastel provided a tour/presentation of respectively the PAL V Fly Drive Academy and Orange Aircraft (Ampex Power) .

The program ended with a networking drink.

See the pictures by clicking this link.