Data Challenges for Aviation Organizations: ICARUS Survey

Today, aviation is considered a powerful driver of financial development, employments, trade and mobility for the European Union. Although the aviation industry does not open the way to technological innovation in data analytics but is eagerly adopting the state-of-the-art technologies, recent studies and our Stakeholder Requirement Study reveal that the advancements in the Big Data domain are highly affecting the aviation industry, as well. However, as our study shows, there are several challenges which still need to be overcome:

Struggle to collect and manage data

Aviation-related data are characterized by high velocity and volume, which affects the difficulty of collecting, curating, linking, analyzing, visualizing and trading/sharing the data. As an example, as claimed by MRO, more than 98 million terabytes of data could be generated by the newest aircrafts by 2026, therefore many resources (time, man-power, infrastructure, etc.) need to be committed in this process.

Data security and privacy concerns

Data privacy is the cornerstone of business trust. As our study illustrated, the aviation stakeholders are concerned about “privacy/confidentiality” and “security” issues, when it comes to sensitive data, especially for sharing data with other organizations. In addition, data anonymization has become obligatory due to new data regulations such as GDPR, which seeks to improve privacy protection for consumers by changing the way businesses collect, use and transfer data.

Lack of data sharing mentality

It is acknowledged that organizations in the aviation domain can realize significant business benefits by sharing their data with other organizations (e.g. FlightGlobal), yet it often depends on what the other organizations offer in return. Furthermore, our key findings have revealed that organizations which use “data marketplaces” and “APIs” find it easier to collect and share data, while organizations that use “custom in-house mechanisms” find it harder.

Expensive infrastructure and personnel training

According to AVIATIONPROS, most airport executives are looking to invest in advanced analytics solutions, as AI in aviation is expected to grow at a CAGR of 46.65% between 2018 and 2025 (PR Newswire). Running in-house mechanisms for processing and analyzing big data though is subjected to high costs for maintaining the underlying infrastructure. Many businesses are unwilling to pay this highly billed service according to DZone, which usually includes large data warehouses for storing data and powerful machines for data processing.

Based on FlightGlobal, the majority of airlines and aerospace companies also consider Big Data as a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and dispatch reliability, having already a Big Data initiative underway or are planning to. However, our study suggests that the businesses do not have properly trained employees and data scientists, which means they have to invest money and time in training their personnel.

At the time being, ICARUS is under development and is gathering the results of its new stakeholder survey. Stay tuned for more updates!

Note: A detailed analysis of the initial ICARUS Stakeholders Needs and Requirements Analysis is provided in Deliverable D1.1 (Domain Landscape Review and Data Value Chain Definition).

Post prepared by: Loukas Pouis (UCY)