On March 10-14, 2018 the International Airlines Technical Pool (IATP) conference welcomed 400 representatives from 108 airlines in Riga, Latvia. IATP convention hosts aviation companies to identify new pooling opportunities, negotiate terms and conditions of pooling activities for the forthcoming season, and discuss industry matters.

The 117th convention was attended by IATA Head of Ground Operations, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, Joseph Suidan, and Aviation Ground Services Agreements (AGSA) Technical Group Chairperson, Christian Bergfelder. The organization also welcomed a new member Rossiya Airlines.

Participants of the conference had the opportunity to attend sessions aimed at providing updates about IATP pooling activities and the aviation industry in general.

Cooperating and sharing resources to optimize airline performance

San Lucktong, IATP president, mentioned that IATP is a non-profit, independent, non-political global convention of Airlines with 108 Airline members and 35 Associate (Suppliers) Members which help generate an enormous pool of resources for airlines. During each convention, the companies have opportunities to network and collaborate to optimize airline performance and help save time and money in critical situations.

IATP organization provides airlines with opportunities to share technical resources including aircraft spare parts, line maintenance, ground handling equipment, aircraft recovery kits and technical training.

“The members of the organization are able to pool resources that help generate economic savings and save time,” said Sichuan Airlines’ representative Kan Zhang, when talking about parts pooling during the event. More than 3,700 pool items are provided at 930 stations, enabling cost avoidance on assets investment. “When it comes to aircraft on ground situations (AOG), a local company can help resolve incidents by providing tools and equipment needed. The platform provides over 130 airlines and service providers’ contacts worldwide so in unexpected instances, the benefits are undeniable,” Zhang shared.

Marcelo Teodoro Miranda part of LATAM Airlines Group recovery team, also focal from his airline in IATP aircraft recovery pooling shared the benefits of combining resources “pooling resources in case of disabled aircraft recovery is very convenient. Our kits can recover any type of aircraft including the A380; it’s definitely cost-effective.”

IATP also offers a platform for equipment sharing with a pool of 167 items from more than 200 participants, according to Augustus Gunasekera, Materials Planning Manager at Emirates, who is additionally responsible for equipment pooling in the organization. Gunasekera said this minimizes stock obsolescence when aircraft type is phased out.

IATP also provides a worldwide network for line maintenance pooling (86 participants in 930 stations) like on-site technical certified staff assistance.  Companies can reach many cooperation agreements at the bi-annual conferences helping save costs.

Pooling opportunities in defense and commercial aviation

French defense technology giant Thales presented the opportunities for cooperation, including in-flight technology, avionics systems and other aerospace technology. Terry Schwabe, the Vice President of Thales Customer Support & Services overviewed the company‘s activities and pooling prospects with Thales‘ global spread of 38 Line Maintance Stations, 8 which are Crown Maintanence Capable and 6 repair stations all across the world.

 BAE Systems Asset Management Program Manager Brent Myers also used the chance to talk about pooling opportunities that the company specializing in Controls and Avionics technology can offer. The company’s electronic systems platforms provide products for both military and commercial aviation sectors with its key specialty in military fixed wing and commercial fixed wing technology.

The event was supported by Storm Aviation (Diamond Sponsor), Thales, Gecas Asset Management Services, and FEAM (Silver Sponsors).

Virtual Reality enables new training and operational opportunities on aircraft maintenance 

Giorgio Pietra, Project Coordinator in IATP Board of Directors, informed that during the Authorities Requirements Committee Meeting, the delegates discussed the output from the last EASA Regulations Meeting. In particular, Cleomenis Bontiotis, IATP Board member, who attended the EASA meeting on behalf of IATP, presented how virtual reality can be implemented in aircraft training and maintenance. 

Koray Kudretoglu, IATP Authorities Requirements Committee Co-Chairperson discussed new advances in immersive technology unveiling how aviation companies can use mixed reality in training. He commented on the implementation of Microsoft HoloLens into aviation training for engineers and mechanics.

Microsoft HoloLens is a pair of mixed reality smartglasses that will enable mechanics and engineers in training to interact with machinery in a safe way and visualize the processes inaccessible in the real world.

By using holographic and augmented reality, the headset can display hazardous areas to be avoided by the trainees in the real world. The technology can also show new machinery mechanisms for example the fuel system of a jet engine; depict its separate parts and its functions in the device.

The technology has already been embraced in a plethora of other industries like gaming, communication, military training and is used in medical training for human anatomy, ultrasound training. A version of HoloLens called HoloSurg has already been operated during surgery in 2017.

According to Giorgio Pietra, immersive technologies have unprecedented potential for the industry, that could save time, money and enable aviation professionals to engage with new technology in a safe way.