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Airlines

Maximising software value

With airlines seeking greater efficiencies in maintenance management, utilising the right software has become an essential element, as Keith Mwanalushi discovers
 

The various software available on the market that realise cost savings for aircraft maintenance operations are of growing interest to airlines. Carriers such as SpiceJet, Mesa Airlines and Copa Airlines are just a few of the operators relying on such solutions to maximise efficiency. 

 

Back in October last year, aviation MRO software developer Mxi Technologies commemorated its 20th year of operations. The company was founded by a small group of young entrepreneurs, willing to take a risk, to fulfil a vision of building a new off-the-shelf aviation maintenance management solution from the ground up.

 

Over the next two decades, Mxi’s flagship product, Maintenix, expanded into a suite of solutions that are currently used widely in commercial aviation, defence, and third-party MRO services. Users of this software range from large, full service carriers, OEMs, the defence sector, to small regional operators and low cost carriers. The company says its software suite is designed to help aviation organisations maximise the revenue potential of their aviation assets through standard, lean, and predictive maintenance.

 

In December 2016, Mxi was acquired by IFS, the global enterprise applications company that specialises in developing and delivering enterprise software for resource planning, asset management and service management. 

 

“We agreed that there is a very strong strategic rationale for combining the two businesses and that IFS presented a natural home for Mxi, its customers and its staff,” says Graham Grose, Vice President and Industry Director of the Aviation and Defence Business Unit at IFS. 

 

He shows confidence that the IFS and Mxi’s Maintenix products complement each other for line maintenance, complex assembly and component MRO. “By combining the two offerings, IFS can offer a unique and complete aviation maintenance approach rivalled by no other enterprise application vendor. In the future, IFS will continue to invest, support and offer both IFS and Mxi solutions as they both have their respective strengths for specific customer needs.”

 

Grose explains that the functionality will be developed so that IFS can deploy the aviation maintenance solution as a best-of-breed solution – offering a ‘break-in’ to users already running competing enterprise-wide products – or as part of an IFS end-to-end solution.

 

When asked if Mxi will retain its brand identity, Grose responds saying both entities are global businesses, and the primary driver is to combine the strengths of both companies to better serve and grow their position within the global civil aviation market. He says the sector expertise of IFS’ aerospace and defence will combine with the industry experience of Mxi to establish a new IFS aviation and defence business unit. 

 

“There are a lot of similarities in the way IFS and Mxi approach product development, and we think there is a great opportunity to learn from each other to improve the way both companies operate. That will be a key focus of integration.”

 

IFS has been monitoring Mxi for some time, Grose admits. In light of its growth plans, the company looked at the ability to execute the opportunities being created by combining Mxi with IFS. “We felt now was the right time to move on with the acquisition.”

 

IFS wants to continue to grow and he feels there is a valuable possibility to build upon the company’s leadership position in the global asset-centric civil aviation industry. “Mxi is a market leader in the aviation maintenance software sector thanks to successful implementations of its Maintenix solution at many commercial airlines operators. 

 

“Mxi is known for its compliance-centric approach, which is a very good fit for IFS and offers great opportunities in addressing the market moving forward. In addition, Mxi has over 265 employees who are predominantly located in North America, which means IFS can rapidly expand its presence within the region,” Grose adds. 

 

The MRO software market has become increasingly competitive and no doubt air carriers and MROs are seeking to benefit from the growing market that includes other players such as Commsoft with OASES and Swiss AviationSoftware with AMOS. 

 

In April, Farnborough-based Jetdeck became the sixth new customer for Commsoft’s OASES system – the aviation engineering and maintenance software – to support its planned CAMO (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation) operations. Following that announcement, Cronos Airlines International’s Approved Maintenance Organisation (CAI Aerospace) has become the latest member of the worldwide OASES community and is the company’s first active customer in South Africa.

 

Airlines and MRO providers seem more likely to focus on MRO IT software where investment gains seem clear and are able to justify the business case for cutting maintenance costs. >>


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