PAM Conference 2023

The 2023 Predictive Aircraft Maintenance (PAM) took place this year on the 27th and 28th of November. Lee Hayhurst, Editorial Director for Aviation Business News, reported on the conference.

The impact that technology can have on the status quo is often described as ‘disruptive’, which is not a concept that the aviation sector generally welcomes.
If you’re an airline, disruption usually involves cancelled departures, unhappy customers, packed airport lounges, compensation pay-outs and thousands of bags parted from their owners.

But for two days this week, the PAM 2023 conference was an opportunity for airlines, IT companies, OEMs, MROs and legal and academic experts to discuss the positive, transformative impact of tech.
Yes, there was plenty of debate about how predictive technology has the potential to undermine existing business models and to circumnavigate regulations that haven’t kept pace, but much of the talk was about the positive potential of technologies like artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics and how this will make humans better at their jobs.
Aviation is naturally conservative when it comes to change, and rightly so, given the imperative that they operate with safety as the number one priority.
This can stifle innovation and the embracing of technologies that, whether we like it or not, are going to play an ever-important role in all of our professional and private lives.

One of the recurring themes of the conference was the need for collaboration, which is easier said than done in such a competitive industry in which everyone jealously guards their own data.
It was pointed out that data is often described as the “new oil”, but a different perspective came from Boeing, who said it should actually be seen as the “new sunlight”.
Wars have been fought over oil, but sunlight is the ultimate renewable, sustainable and shareable resource; the question is how to harness it so that everyone benefits.

I’ve no doubt that over two days, delegates who attended PAM took steps towards answering this vital question that aviation must grapple with if it’s to operate more sustainably and efficiently.

A final observation, having attended my first PAM, is that this is an industry that is inspiring a new, younger and more diverse generation of engineering and technology talent.
Sure, it remains heavily male-dominated, but we hosted a number of role models for the next generation of aviation employees who will usher in a new technological age.
Among them was a contingent of students from Cranfield University. Maybe at a future PAM, we’ll be inviting them back to speak about the transformative impact they’ve had on the sector.