AI in Aviation: The Future of Buying & Selling Parts


Aircraft Parts buying and selling is Big Business. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that affects every single flight operation commercially worldwide. Without a steady supply chain of parts, the fleet goes nowhere; it is completely static.

However, the process is antiquated and somewhat slow. There are thousands upon thousands of different vendors and hundreds of millions of different parts. Sometimes hooking your flight operation up with the correct part from the correct vendor seems like it takes an act of the Almighty. As with so many things, though, AI is poised to take the aviation market by storm and change everything. How is it going to? We are glad you asked, so let’s take a look. 

What Is The Future Of AI In Aviation?

So, what is the future of artificial intelligence in aviation? First, let’s qualify this a little bit.

We are talking about artificial intelligence in buying and selling aircraft parts. As we said, there are many millions of different parts from Tier 1 through Tier 3 suppliers. This goes from the smallest hardware and fastener to complete components like engines.

Finding and determining the right parts for your application alone is a chore, and can take many hours to isolate the exact part. How do we know? Because we’ve been there.

Our Autopilot program is already leveraging machine learning to study your preferences and provide you with accurate information based on real-time availability. 

How so?

Well, let’s think about what AI does particularly well. Unlike a traditional parts site search function that simply yields research results consistent with your search parameters or keywords, AI paints a more complete picture, providing a solution narrative. This may or may not get you closer to finding the right parts and vendors for your problem. It doesn’t create any narrative that helps you narrow down vendors, systems, subsystems, and specific parts or leverages past purchasing behaviors to understand your individual needs. and that’s a major problem. You go to a search engine looking for an actual narrative to help you choose the part, but that is not what you get. You never get an explanation that will help you clarify a solution for your problem; you just get top results.

Suppose AI is used anyway like it is in the aforementioned applications for aviation. In that case, it will create narratives allowing you to sift through the noise and choose a solution. It will make the process simpler, smoother, faster, and more accurate. and at the end of the day, for a purchasing agent, there is nothing more significant than that. 

AI Will Help Change The Aviation Industry. How?

It is not a matter of if but how AI will change and revolutionize the entire aviation industry. AI and Predictive Analytics are changing the game completely from inside the cockpit to the cabin space, especially the maintenance process.

You must only consider whether you will adopt it now or be behind in the game.

The application of AI in aviation is completely unavoidable. This will become even more apparent further in the technician shortage, which is still a major crisis.

In lieu of being able to build up the technician shortage, which is a long-term function, emerging technologies have to bridge the gap. but not only will they bridge the gap, even if the technician workforce were where it needs to be, but they would also still improve the accuracy and speed of technical diagnosis.

But, since we are dealing with a technician shortage from which there is no easy or quick way out, we have to live with the fact that the technological gap has to be bridged by emerging Technologies, namely AI. 

How AI Will Shape the Present and Future of Aviation

Aviation is a high-speed business. Everything about it is fast, and that’s the entire point.

When an airplane is grounded, it’s losing money. Whether it’s weather or other delays, which are unavoidable, or mechanical breakage, which is also unavoidable, it’s losing money.

And while mechanical breakages are unavoidable, streamlining the repair process is not.

This is how AI has the opportunity to shine. Aviation logistics all together often tends to be bottlenecked and somewhat disjointed, and it’s hard not to be. It’s a huge process involving tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of moving pieces. 

Aviation AI Can Help Revolutionize Buying & Selling Airplane Parts

There will undoubtedly be ways in which AI helps flight crews and cabin crew with their job. It will also certainly help customer support processes become more streamlined. But right now, we are talking about buying and selling parts.

It is estimated that nearly 30% of delay times in aviation are due to unplanned maintenance. That’s enormous.

Predictive Analytics greatly reduces the overall burden of extended unplanned maintenance downtime. This is part of the process before it ever gets to buying and selling parts, where the Internet of Things monitors fleet health and individual health of every aircraft. AI can be used to build up an enormous database of information on the fleet. It monitors every system and subsystem and highlights common failure points.

Once it highlights and analyzes them, AI provides the ability to have a thorough output of information allowing technicians to quickly and easily diagnose issues and determine what parts are necessary very quickly.

This will allow them to reduce downtime because they will be able to expedite parts quickly with a much higher probability of accuracy in the diagnosis than other more traditional methods of diagnosis, getting the airplane back in the air faster and saving money. 

Just think about the possibilities: visual surveillance software that identifies defects could also have the ability to suggest or even put in order the parts to replace it. Let’s say a visual scanner catches a window that is delaminated Beyond limits. it then goes ahead and puts in an order request for a replacement window before any person has ever even looked at it.

Or that same visual software identifies delamination in a control surface that needs repair but isn’t a replacement part. It can then go ahead and red X / ground the aircraft until repairs are made. It is commonly known that the leading cause of incidents in aviation is human error; AI changes all of that. 

What About Machine-learning In The Airline Industry?

Machine-learning is a piece in the overall puzzle of aircraft maintenance, logistics, and buying and selling parts. Maintenance is what drives buying and selling parts. Aircraft breakage drives maintenance. Machine-learning and AI will be used in aircraft maintenance to detect issues early, earlier than what the human eye and human diagnosis can do. They do this by constantly analyzing the many different systems of the aircraft. It doesn’t take any imagination to understand that machine learning with AI can drive the procurement of aviation parts by identifying failure points before they happen and procuring parts; ID getting the parts on order the second that it fails or before it even fails.

Through aircraft predictive maintenance and similar software opportunities, technicians are given the knowledge needed to perform preemptive repairs or replacements with the potential of getting parts on order before the failure even exists. This is the next level of aircraft maintenance and aviation parts logistics, powered by AI.

Next Steps for Leveraging AI for Buying Aviation Supplies 

These things sound very much like science fiction, but they are here and here to stay. Still, it is a major piece in the future of aircraft maintenance, especially as we see the technician shortage really go into full swing as more technicians are retiring from the workforce than are coming into it.

The next natural step is to streamline the entire logistical process, from diagnosing future failures to using AI-powered marketplaces to receive targeted results and strategically manage aircraft parts inventory

ePlane is with you every step of the way as we learn these new crafts together and implement them into the parts bidding and selling process.

Written by John McCoy

John McCoy is a professional copywriter focusing on aviation and aerospace. He spent over two decades in the aviation industry, working in many different capacities and roles in administration, airport operations, and aircraft maintenance, along with being a private pilot. These experiences give him a unique vantage point on all things aviation.