Scandinavia's leading airline adopts Albuquerque firm's software - Albuquerque Journal

Scandinavia’s leading airline adopts Albuquerque firm’s software

Ultramains electronic logbook appears on the iPad at left, alongside other cockpit displays, for pilots to digitally log all technical issues before, during and after flights. (Courtesy of Ultramain)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque-based Ultramain Systems Inc. is converting the entire fleet at Scandinavia’s leading airline to an electronic software system to digitally log and track all technical issues before, during and after flights.

Scandinavian Airlines System signed a fleetwide contract this month to replace all its paper-based technical, cabin, journey and fueling logs with Ultramain’s electronic logbook software. That will allow pilots and cabin crews to digitally record all technical issues for real-time sharing with maintenance workers on the ground.

With about 120-plus aircraft in SAS’ mainline fleet, and roughly 60 more operated by SAS subsidiaries, it’s one of Ultramain’s biggest contracts since before the global pandemic hit in early 2020, said Ultramain Vice President of Product Management John Stone.

“We’re doing the entire fleet,” Stone told the Journal. “It’s no small operation.”

Ultramain, a homegrown New Mexico company that launched in 1980, began rolling out its TechLog software system about a decade ago.

Before that, the company had already gained a substantial foothold in the aviation industry with ground-based maintenance and logistics software for monitoring and planning upkeep and repair of vehicles and other assets. Sales of that software system helped push company revenue to $10 million by 2002, although Ultramain no longer discloses its revenue.

Sales of the ground-based software system continue, but launch of Ultramain’s on-board electronic logbook has significantly expanded its market in recent years. Since 2012, at least four major carriers have adopted it, including Japan Airlines, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airways and Air New Zealand.

The system allows airlines to replace reams of paper flight logs that pilots and crews must fill out every time they fly regarding cockpit- and cabin-related operations and issues. It includes a touchscreen interface that speeds communication with ground maintenance operators, allowing for faster turnaround times so that aircraft spend more time in the air and less time on the ground between flights.

The SAS contract includes new software products, such as a recently developed “Electronic Line Checks” system to replace paper-based maintenance check sheets to facilitate rapid review and confirmation that all required aircraft checking is done between flights, Stone said.

The entire electronic logbook is also now programmed to fully process pilot and cabin-crew entries during flights even when the system is offline, automatically logging the data digitally as soon as connectivity is restored.

The SAS deal reflects the aviation industry’s rebound since the pandemic-induced downturn. Airlines are now scrambling to find new work-related efficiencies, said Ultramain president and CEO Mark McCausland.

“As operators return to pre-pandemic volumes, they must deal with labor shortages,” McCausland told the Journal in an email. “Digital transformation projects such as this are a major part of that strategy. We are busier now than we’ve ever been, and we don’t expect this to change anytime soon.”

The company currently employs about 180 people at a 31,000-square-foot headquarters at 8100 Lang NE in Journal Center, and at regional offices in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, India and Singapore.

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