July 19, 2016

Microsoft Azure wins sizable chunk of Boeing’s cloud computing business

The move will help to accelerate flight optimization, making airlines more efficient as well as cost effective.

Boeing will adopt Microsoft Azure for many of the commercial analytical aviation applications that the aerospace giant has built for more than 300 airlines and related companies, the companies said.

The move to the cloud “will accelerate predictive maintenance and flight optimization, helping airlines save money and improve efficiency,” Kevin Crowley, Boeing’s vice president of digital aviation, said in a statement.

The collaboration — involving Azure services including Cortana Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) suite — will enable “a great potential between the connected traveler, the connected airplane and the connected operation,” said Andrew Gendreau, Boeing’s director of advanced information solutions, in an interview.

Gendreau explained:

Tactically, we wanted to speed the process of acquiring and analyzing data and getting it back to customers as usable results. It lets us scale more easily and adds reliability and performance. In terms of strategy, we wanted to work with a technology leader to help us tackle our grander vision of digital aviation.

Airlines worldwide spend about $700 billion on operating costs and garner about the same amount in revenue, Gendreau added and moving to the cloud will improve their margins.

Boeing and subsidiaries AerData and Jeppesen have built applications used by more than 300 airlines, airplane leasing companies and maintenance suppliers for tasks including fleet maintenance, inventory management, route planning, training and scheduling crews and buying and leasing planes and engines, Boeing claims.

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