Japan Airlines Overhauls Its Fleet Maintenance Systems

Japan Airlines has inked an agreement with global cloud enterprise software company IFS to support fleet-wide long range maintenance planning. The IFS developed software will help Japan Airlines develop and share fleet maintenance plans that best support aircraft availability, task yield, and hangar utilization for its nearly 200 aircraft.

Another legacy airline updates its old style way of doing things

Like a lot of legacy airlines, Japan Airlines had a decidedly low-tech fleet maintenance planning process that required frequent manual intervention. Human intervention and manual processes will reduce substantially. Similar software based on artificial intelligence systems deployed at other airlines have been found to reduce errors, save time, boost operational reliability, and improve the airline’s bottom line.

That’s welcome news for Japan Airlines which is expected to post a substantial annual loss for the Japanese fiscal year ending today, March 31. It will be the Tokyo-based airline’s second big annual loss in a row however Japan Airlines has been narrowing its quarterly losses lately and is optimistic of a return to profitability this quarter. As the airline fights its way back to profitability, baking in operational efficiencies and cost savings is crucial.


Japan Airlines has a fleet of nearly 200 planes that need continuing maintenance. Photo: Getty Images

“With IFS fleet maintenance planning software Japan Airlines can automate processes that were previously manual and labor-intensive, improve team collaboration by allowing planners to work on a single plan simultaneously, and ultimately decrease aircraft downtime and maximize task yield,says Ryo Tamura, President at Japan Airlines Engineering.

Japan Airlines Engineering, an engineering and maintenance subsidiary of Japan Airlines, provides line maintenance, aircraft inspection and maintenance, engine and component maintenance services at the airline’s bases in Haneda, Narita, and Osaka Itami Airports. They also provide maintenance support services for more than 50 international airlines that normally fly into Japan. Japan Airlines Engineering is to deploy and use the new fleet maintenance software across the airline’s bases.

Other airlines look to streamline their fleet maintenance

Japan Airlines is not the only airline to use IFS software. Late last year, Colombia-based Viva Air started using IFS to support its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and fleet planning operations. Viva Air wants to establish itself as the leading low-cost airline in Latin America, with planned international expansion into Brazil, Argentina, Chile and more countries in the region. The airline currently operates 21 Airbus A320-200 and A320neo aircraft, with fleet size expected to more than double over the next five years.

But to do that, it needed solid systems in the background. A cloud-based maintenance management system is one such system.


Colombia-based is also using cloud-based AI software to streamline its fleet maintenance processes. Photo: IFS

Francisco Lalinde, Chief Operating Officer at Viva Air said the airline wanted the best technological solution for the Latin American market, particularly in terms of providing support for a single airline operating with multiple air operator’s certificates (AOCs), with further AOCs planned. Other airline operators across the Americas using AI driven fleet maintenance software include LATAM, Copa Airlines, Cape Air, and PSA Airlines. Scott Helmer, President, Aerospace and Defense at IFS says more and more airlines will switch from legacy systems to cloud-based software, noting;

“Maintenance software provides the perfect balance between fleet utilization and maintenance efficiency, ultimately translating into smoother operations to delight passengers at the all-important moment of service, when their flight takes off on time and delivers them to their intended destination.”


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