Airbus has announced contactless shipment of commercial planes dubbed "e-Delivery" to ensure business continuity while avoiding risks of spreading the COVID-19 infection.
"A new aircraft hand-over and 'e-Delivery' virtual process has recently commenced operation, guaranteeing continuation of Airbus’ delivery stream, while integrating the required health & safety requirements during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
The first customer to adopt the remote end-to-end process is Pegasus Airlines, which in the last few days received three brand new ‘e-delivered’ A320neo Family aircraft. More airlines are expected to follow suit in the coming days and weeks.
This new e-Delivery approach comprises three main stages:
(a) Technical Acceptance Completion (TAC) tasks delegated to Airbus (or to a local third party appointed by the airline)
(b) electronic Transfer-of-Title (electronic ToT)
(c) ferry-flight and subsequent reception of the aircraft at the customer’s base.
For the TAC (which is a prerequisite for ToT) the airline can delegate Airbus to perform, on its behalf, all the necessary actions. These include the ‘ground-check’, the acceptance test flight, acceptance manuals and procedures, as well as minor cosmetic rework if needed.
Then for the ToT completion, Airbus’ and customers’ teams take benefit from a new secure collaborative platform: “e-SalesContracts." This brings them all together – wherever they happen to be – into one real-time virtual environment where they can optimise and simplify all the contractual transactions, from the paperless drafting and commercially negotiating the delivery documents up to the remote ToT digital signature. The platform obviates the need for any of the customer’s own staff to be physically present at the Airbus Delivery Centre.
After the TAC and ToT formalities are complete, the subsequent ferry-flight is also performed in a health-wise safe manner whereby the customer’s own flight crew (or an appointed third party) can pick-up the sanitised aircraft and fly it straight back from the delivery centre to the airline’s home base.
In addition, Airbus Customer Services teams are working to provide maintenance recommendations and support customers which have fleets partially or wholly grounded during this period.
The company is providing technical justifications and solutions for maintenance burden reduction. This includes extending calendar intervals for scheduled maintenance tasks and reducing the frequency of periodic ground checks wherever justified by experience and engineering analysis.
Airbus has published technical data via Operators Information Transmissions (OITs). Customers can submit technical queries directly to Airbus Customer Services via the AirbusWorld portal.