Lessors: the digital revolution
By Nomsa Sibanda
22 February, 2016

Megan Keene, Manager – Technical Operations, is based in Los Angeles and supports our FLYdocs customers in the Americas. With over 7 years Lessor experience as a Technical Support Manager, Megan gives her perspective on the move to electronic records management in this growing market.

In the Lessor side of the industry, leasing companies will market and lease their aircraft for 7 – 10+ year lease terms. This results in several operators during the life of the aircraft, and several lease return transactions that a lessor has to oversee. With almost 40% of the world’s aircraft fleet now leased, aircraft lease transactions are becoming more common than not.

megan-keeneLease return transactions can be costly for both parties when relying on paper-based documentation. The standing requirement to return an aircraft with boxes of paper records and physical paper trails to document compliance is outdated in today’s technologically advanced world.

Records management of paper records can be a slow, disorganised, and costly system in terms of both time and money. The industry lacks a global standardisation for everyone to follow, so accepting an aircraft return from operator A vs. operator B can be a different experience for the lessor. It is not uncommon for a lease return to be delayed by several weeks or months because the required documentation takes more time than anticipated to build when working with physical paper. Moving to a fully digital records management platform, where a standard set of paperless compliance documentation can be built in a standard format electronically would make a world of difference for all parties.

With a platform like FLYdocs, lessors can perform aircraft lease transactions in a paperless way. Once all records are scanned, compliance documentation can be built, reviewed, and accepted from anywhere in the world. Not only does this reduce the costs for a lessor that no longer has to send representatives onsite at the end of a lease for several months, reviewing and scanning copies of paper records and overseeing aircraft returns, but for the operators as well when an aircraft return occurs efficiently and on time.

The airline industry has been reliantly working with paper records for a long time. For an organisation to benefit the most from a digital records system, they should look for key features including lightning speed search capability, robust administrative tools for granular control of secure access for all types of users, and the flexibility to brand and customise the system to map to the needs of the individual business.

The digitalisation of records management may not be without its challenges. Whilst flexibility in a system is a crucial component, a significant challenge for many organisations is taking this opportunity to adapt their current processes to get maximum benefit. It is important to set out the vision that will be enabled by the paperless records management system and then be guided by those end goals to redefine processes and work in a digital environment in a new way.

The market is seeing an increase in the digital records revolution. Major airlines are leading the charge of paperless records, like FLYdocs’ customers Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific, who have already digitised their fleets, and others, such as Qantas, who are in the process of doing so. The aviation authorities are coming on board, and it is time for the leasing industry to bring their support as well. It will not happen all at once, but by working with a fresh approach, listening to the experts, and investing in paperless records management platforms, the lessors can bring real innovation to the aircraft industry.

What they said

  • FLYdocs has successfully completed lease return projects for Wizz Air in the past, which gave us great insight into the power of their system. Now with full access to FLYdocs®, we have the right platform to manage all of our records across the entire portfolio.
    - Heiko Holm, Technical Director, Wizz Air
  • We can instantly see a project status, identify queries and delegate team members to respond to them all within the system. This detailed visibility provides us with every confidence in our ability to successfully redeliver this large number of aircraft in such a short period of time.
    - Jan De Meyer, Technical Representative & Records Manager, Brussels Airlines
  • We expect the FLYdocs® system to facilitate smoother aircraft lease returns, through benefits such as the structuring of and access to our maintenance records.
    - Rob Saunders, Manager Engineering Development Cathay Pacific Airways
  • We have already enjoyed the benefit of cost and time savings involved with researching historical information – what used to take days to complete, now takes mere seconds to search and find documentation.
    - Jim Landers SVP- Technical Operations Hawaiian Airlines
  • The FLYdocs document audit was very comprehensive and captured a lot of discrepancies that might have otherwise been missed during a physical on-site documentation review. Once in a digital format, it was very quick and easy to locate a required document or piece of information.
    - Dean Pang, Engineering Executive at SilkAir
  • FLYdocs® allows us to be prepared and in a proactive position instead of reacting to document findings from a lessor just before the physical inspection starts. The feedback from the lessors is always positive as they can review the documents online and on different remote locations.
    - Werner Reiser Senior Manager Phase Out Program SWISS International Air Lines Ltd
  • We are excited to be moving to a new digital way of working that will transform our current engineering practices and we ensure that we deliver against our ambitious asset transition programme, keeping us and our fleet at the forefront of aviation in Europe.
    - Cemil Sayar, Director Technic, SunExpress
  • FLYdocs not only brings a leading software solution but also specific expert knowledge in the area of commercial aviation records management.
    - Rob Saunders, Manager Engineering Development Cathay Pacific Airways
  • The visibility and advanced electronic real-time audit functionality across both the records and aircraft physical inspection sides of the process have allowed Virgin staff, our MRO partners and the lessors, lessees and aviation authorities involved in the process to pro-actively manage each delivery with ease.
    - Rick Daniels Information Services & Airworthiness Records Manager Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • The platform’s superior functionality will provide us ease of use and multi-user web access to technical aircraft records from anywhere in the world.
    - Justin Goatcher, CDB Aviation, Head of Asset Management
  • The platform will bring much more versatility and control across the entire audit and transition process. We are also excited by the improvements it will make to our aircraft remarketing and trading performance too.
    - Rich Poutier, Chief Technical Officer, MCAP
  • We were impressed by the technical capabilities of the FLYdocs® platform. We contracted FLYdocs to manage the complete project from scanning to audit, and have the FLYdocs team to thank for their hard work and expertise.
    - Barry Keenaghan, Project Manager, NAC

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