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RR Microsoft deal could cut flight delays

William Payne
July 14, 2016

British aero engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and software developer Microsoft have announced a deal that they claim will cut flight delays for air passengers. Building on the partnership between the two companies announced in April this year, Rolls-Royce and Microsoft announced at the Farnborough Air Show in Hampshire, England that Microsoft cloud, IoT and voice recognition technology will be incorporated into Roll-Royce's TotalCare programme, the company's service level based aircraft engine maintenance programme.

Rolls-Royce will use Microsoft's Azure IoT suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite to diagnose quickly issues with aircraft engines. This should ensure that engine maintenance crews can deal with any issues rapidly, and perform preventative maintenance before issues arise.

Rolls and Microsoft also announced that Singapore Airlines would be a partner in the agreement, offering advice on improving engine efficiency.

Microsoft claims that the increased data that Rolls-Royce will receive will improve airline efficiency and lead to “every journey, for every passenger, taking off and landing on time, every time”. With a one per cent fuel saving equating to $250,000 per aircraft per year, the partnership expects that airlines will save millions of dollars.

Information on engine health, air traffic control, route restrictions and fuel usage will be collected from hundreds of sensors inside the engines to detect “operational anomalies and trends”. Airlines can then cut fuel usage, fly on more efficient routes and ensure they have the right replacement parts in the places they are needed most.

Caglayan Arkan, General Manager of Manufacturing and the Resources Sector at Microsoft, said: “We are excited to bring our Azure platform and suite of digital technology to the aerospace market and support a world leader such as Rolls-Royce. Aircraft engines are hugely valuable assets and we want to help Rolls-Royce ensure they stay flying as much as possible. When we combine our skills with those of Rolls-Royce and their customers we have a powerful solution.”

Eric Schulz, President of Civil Aerospace at Rolls, said: We have done much over the past 20 years to reduce costs and improve efficiency, but we want more. We are now taking aerospace services from the era of garage repair to that of an F1 pit crew, using big-data technologies to proactively drive operational performance. Teams will take signals and information from many sources and turn it into an individual aircraft strategy that uses the least fuel, avoids disruption and is serviced with minimum downtime.

“We are excited to have an industry leader like Microsoft working with us and have Singapore Airlines, a highly-valued, forward-looking organisation, providing their guidance and insight.”

Captain KK Goh at Singapore Airlines, said: “Our flight operations and efficiency teams are working closely with Rolls-Royce to drive performance to the highest possible level in our business. We can see real savings when data and robust analytics are applied to support decision making in our processes and actions.”