Necessity is the mother of all invention. So, Airbus is modifying its processes to deliver aircraft to customers in the age of CoVid-19. Sure enough, if there is an airline willing to collect a plane during these unimaginable times, Airbus would love to make good the delivery at the earliest, while making it safe for their employees as well. Believe it or not, till a while ago, an aircraft delivery would include setting up an office at the delivery centre of Airbus and work through the paperwork and the aircraft in tandem.
Now, Airbus has put together a new process. The new aircraft hand-over and “e-Delivery” virtual process has recently commenced operation, guaranteeing the continuation of Airbus’ delivery stream, while integrating the required health & safety requirements during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This new e-Delivery approach comprises three main stages:
- Technical Acceptance Completion (TAC) tasks delegated to Airbus (or to a local third party appointed by the airline)
- Electronic Transfer-of-Title (electronic ToT)
- 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. This platform thus obviates the need for any of the customer’s 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 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.
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 will follow likewise in the coming days and weeks.
As well as affording a means of safe business continuity during the current COVID-19 crisis, the e-Delivery process, especially its new collaborative digital aspects – which confer enhanced workflow efficiencies, flexibility, transparency, plus a more environmentally-friendly and smoother overall customer experience – could become the blueprint for Airbus and its customers going forward.