MRO blockchain alliance launches

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Industry partners have announced today, February 4, 2020, the launch of the MRO Blockchain Alliance, the air transport’s first industry-wide investigation into the use of blockchain to track, trace and record aircraft parts.

Members of the new alliance include organizations that cover every stage of the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) chain, from part manufacture and repairs to logistics and smart contracts. Among the founder members are Bolloré Logistics, Cathay Pacific, FLYdocs, HAECO Group, Ramco Systems, SITA and Willis Lease Finance Corporation, supported by Clyde & Co. The alliance was first mooted in 2019 at a HAECO Group event with the aim of bringing the various stakeholders together to set a global standard around the use of blockchain to trace parts.

In the coming months the alliance will launch a proof of concept to demonstrate the use of blockchain to digitally track and record the movements and maintenance history of parts across a wide number of players. These include airlines, lessors, logistics suppliers, maintenance providers and OEMs such as engine producers.

This tracking information will be vital to managing a complex logistics value chain that can span several stakeholders over the life of each individual part. Currently there is no global database, incomplete data sharing, and only partial digitalization. The alliance believes that the use of blockchain will simplify and speed up parts tracking while enabling the secure sharing of information between industry stakeholders.

The alliance will use blockchain to record and track two separate strands of information for each aircraft part: a digital thread and a digital passport. The digital thread provides the real-time status, chain of custody and back-to-birth track-and-trace of the part over time. The digital passport provides the indisputable identity of a part and contains other vital data such as certification of airworthiness and proof of ownership.

IT provider SITA will manage governance for the global alliance, supporting the working groups, delivering all required blockchain technology components compliant with SPEC2000 and SPEC42 standards and ensuring proper alignment and validation with regulators and international standardization bodies.

Matthys Serfontein, president of air travel solutions for SITA, said, “This initiative is part of SITA’s ongoing exploration of blockchain, a technology that we believe promises tremendous opportunity for streamlining the sharing and recording of information across the air-transport industry. In an industry as interconnected as ours, the ability to share and record common data in a secure way without giving up control of that data is fundamental to driving new efficiencies in air travel. This is particularly true for the MRO sector.”

The alliance will spend the next few months in the planning phase, with the aim of going live with the first proof of concept in the second quarter of 2020.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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