Honeywell – UPS Gives Old Jets New Life in CEO’s Push to ‘Sweat the Assets’
Imagine ripping out the dashboard of your 20-year-old minivan and replacing it with the high-tech controls from a Tesla.
That’s pretty much what United Parcel Service Inc. is doing to squeeze two more decades of life from dozens of aging Airbus SE freighters by revamping their cockpit computers. It’s all part of new Chief Executive Officer Carol Tome’s strategy to “sweat the assets” by increasing efficiency while reducing investment.
The 52 Airbus A300-600 jets were purchased beginning in 2000 and the flight computer has such limited memory that it can’t store full navigational maps, forcing UPS to divide the U.S. into five regions to hold the information. Each update takes 45 minutes and has to be done each time a plan needs to fly to a different area.
“This is a huge productivity improvement for us,” said Ed Walton, director of engineering for UPS’s aircraft maintenance unit. “We had a 1970s-generation flight management system that only had 200K of memory. It’s kind of shocking that we were able to stretch it out this long.”