Air India taps US-based GE Aerospace for software solutions

‘FlightPulse’ pilot app will provide personalized flight data for 5000 flight crew

Air India's latest acquisition, the A350-900 from Airbus. / Photo: Air India handout/ Air India

The Air India group, now a Tata and Singapore Airlines-owned company, has tapped GE Aerospace, leading US-based provider of jet engines, for a bouquet of software solutions to optimize flight operations while providing safety and fuel insights.

This makes Air India the first enterprise in India to adopt GE’s flagship FlightPulse pilot app with its embedded animation module, which will provide over 5000 members of its flight crew with insights from personalized flight data, helping them make informed operational decisions.

The Pre-flight module provides aggregated data from across the operation for more informed fuel decisions and departure briefings, while the post-flight module provides secure access to data from a pilot’s individual flight history, allowing them to analyze their own operation of the aircraft in relation to their peers and self-discover areas to optimize operations and efficiency.

Pilots can analyze topical statistics and common safety events based on historical flight data for their entire operation, to assist them in making the optimal safety and fuel decisions for an upcoming flight. FlightPulse highlights deviations from planned routes so that pilots can understand where specific efficiency opportunities were missed, or where increased safety risks were present to improve future flight characteristics.

Another software product, Safety Insight, provides advanced analytics and real-time data monitoring to enhance safety measures and ensure optimal performance across its fleet.

The third tool, Fuel Insight provides the enterprise with comprehensive fuel efficiency solutions, enabling the group to optimize journeys for more efficient fuel management.

Together they will help drive Air India’s flight safety, training, and sustainability initiatives.

“Air India group airlines are thrilled to collaborate with GE Aerospace and integrate their innovative solutions into our operations”, said Klaus Goersch, Executive Vice President & Chief Operations Officer, Air India. “The future looks bright as we work hand in hand to shape the future of Air India and set new standards for excellence and efficiency.”

“We are elated to embark on this journey with Air India, a true trailblazer in the aviation industry,” said Andrew Coleman, General Manager, GE Aerospace, Software. “This partnership signifies a shared commitment to innovation, safety, and operational excellence.”

The reach out to GE Aerospace for software muscle is part of Air India’s Vihaan.AI initiative, a five-year transformation roadmap to become a world class airline with an Indian heart. The first phase of this transformation, the taxi phase was recently concluded, and focused on fixing the basics. These included bringing back to service many long grounded aircraft, addition of talent across flying and ground functions, rapid upgradation of technology and strengthening of customer care initiatives.

MRO facility in Bangalore

Last month Air India announced that it was poised to establish Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facilities at Bangalore International Airport starting with Airframe Maintenance through the development of Wide-Body and Narrow-Body hangars for all checks, including heavy structural checks. This was planned to help develop the broader MRO ecosystem in India and is expected to generate over 1200 highly skilled employment opportunities in the state.

The MRO was part of a US$277.11 million investment by Air India along with a group company, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), in Karnataka state’s aerospace and defence sector.

Just over a year ago Air India, signed an order with GE Aerospace for 40 GEnx-1B and 20 GE9X engines as replacements in its Boeing 787 and Boeing 777X aircraft.

Air India also announced a massive order for more than 800 CFM-LEAP engines, its entire narrowbody purchase of 210 Airbus A320/A321neo aircraft and 190 Boeing 737 MAX-family aircraft.  CFM is a 50-50 joint venture between GE and France-based Safran Aircraft Engines.

Interestingly, Indian engineers at GE’s India  R&D base, the   John F. Welch Technology Centre (JFWTC) in Bangalore played a key role in the technology development of the GE9X, GEnx, and CFM LEAP engines by providing analysis and test validation support. The centre has close to a thousand engineers.