A sustainable future for aircraft records; If not now, when?

Source: IATA

In an industry where sustainability  is at the heart of everything we do, digitisation has never before been so important. As businesses across the industry engage in sustainable practices and aspire to ambitious CSR objectives, digitisation is now an integral part of the industry, with industry leaders evidencing that it’s here to stay.

But, what effect can the digitisation of aircraft airworthiness records have on sustainability in the industry? How feasible is an entirely paperless records system? Moreover, how soon will the digitisation of aircraft records become a reality?

As airlines and leasing companies adopt digital practices to protect stakeholder relationships and asset worth, the increasing attitude towards digitising aircraft airworthiness records is that it continues to drive and deliver cost and time-efficient solutions to the industry. Recognised benefits include reducing labour hours in Quality Assurance  processes by 50% or more, reducing delays in aircraft end of lease and duplications of maintenance activities due to missing records.  As an increasing number of  commercial airlines adopt digitisation, a paperless system is now taking precedent as a key driver towards sustainability and CSR missions.

What's often underestimated as a global environmental impact within the industry, particularly for Airlines, MRO’s and Lessors  is the consequence of the use of paper associated with aircraft airworthiness records.

It's estimated that one aircraft generates  a minimum of 30,000 sheets of paper per year (an estimated three trees a year), translating to 259 standard football fields of trees destroyed in one year as a result of paper; records that can now be entirely digital (Flightaware, 2019).

But how feasible is the adoption of a completely digital ecosystem? Whilst the utopia of a completely paperless, digital ecosystem still presents significant boundaries, the overwhelming response from the industry is that a digital ecosystem is perhaps not as out of reach as once estimated.

As increasing regulatory bodies adopt digitisation and leap towards a digital airworthiness ecosystem, the concept of a completely paperless ecosystem is growing closer and closer to reality.

There are multiple enabling technologies for consideration, such as encryption, controlled access, audit trails, authentication and identity recognition, web-enabled tech logs, off-line access and seamless integration amongst technological platforms. However, increasing technologies such as blockchain encryption are paving the way towards aviation and a completely paperless digital ecosystem. Whilst the technological developments are universally recognised as technologies that require further technical developments, regulatory bodies have indicated that actions and decisions will be demand-led.

Therefore, businesses across the industry must continue to support and recognise the importance of adopting a digital ecosystem. Thus, innovating towards a more sustainable future.

As Airlines, MRO's and lessors across the globe continue to take strives towards sustainable practises, the question of a complete digital ecosystem is not if, but when?

To find out how ROAM can support your sustainability missions through a digital aircraft airworthiness archiving platform, click below to book a demo.



2017, IATA, Guidance Material for the implementation of Paperless Aircraft Operations in Technical Operations. Ribble-pack.co.uk. 2022. How Much Paper Comes From One Tree? – Ribble. [online] Available at: <https://ribble-pack.co.uk/blog/much-paper-comes-one-tree>; [Accessed 11 February 2022].

Backes, M. and Miwa, F., 2017. Digital records: improving efficiency in commercial aviation. Institute of Transport and Logistics,.

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