In the meantime, there is still much to be done. Michael Denis, vice president for customer engagement at InfoTrust, sees two kinds of problems in managing leasing data: regulation and capabilities. “This does not solve the regulatory problem, but addresses the capabilities challenge,” he says.
Denis divides the challenge, in turn, into three parts. First, “does it cover the whole airline-lessor ecosystem, including contract management, lease reserves and back-to-birth records?” he asks. “Probably not, many airlines say it does not solve the whole problem.”
Another capability issue is technical interoperability with other data systems. “To do this, it needs open, extensible, standard n-tiered architecture,” Denis emphasizes. “If they do not have that today, they will probably solve that.”
The third capability challenge, common data standards, is a little tougher. “Some airlines say this is just scanning and archiving,” Denis notes. “As we move up the technical maturity curve, we need to keep in mind the end state, which is XML and ASD standards.” ASD is a family of aerospace data standards for materials, logistics, maintenance, diagnostics, prognostics and technical publications.
Jon Andresen, president of Aviation Technology Solutions, has similar concerns. “If Stream just puts paperwork in PDF, it is going in the right direction, getting it digital and making data searchable. But it is still a proprietary system that cannot share data with other systems. We need to have standards.”
Andresen says common standards mean specifying the data that everyone needs, defining the data—for example, part numbers by OEM, airline or airframe—and then establishing processes for obtaining data so everyone trusts the results.
Today there are standards for only a few historical maintenance records, such as FAA Form 8130 and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) Form 1. “We can solve this if someone takes the lead,” Andresen argues. Ryan says ATA and ASD do not have standards for aircraft or engine historical records. “AerData and its customers are working toward a standard that could be adopted by the industry that would be similar to ATA and ASD standards,” he notes. This ultimate record standard would be interoperable with maintenance systems.
“We were waiting for standards to develop,” says Tams. “But they did not, so we went ahead and did this.” Streams's current methods are outside of, neither consistent with nor in conflict with, ATA and ASD standards. Stream does not interoperate with other databases now, although it has proprietary links with some airline systems. “We hope as standards develop, they will comply with them and interoperate with other systems,” Tams says.