Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) of ARINC IA℠ Sets the Standards for Commercial Aircraft Avionics

Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) of ARINC IA℠ Sets the Standards for Commercial Aircraft Avionics

ARINC Industry Activities works together with thought leaders in aviation, ICAO, RTCA, and EUROCAE to represent airlines, shape the future of aviation, and define the aircraft systems necessary to ensure safe, reliable air transport.  Each year, more than 35 million scheduled flights will operate worldwide, relying on avionics and air traffic control facilities that use equipment specified by the ARINC Standards.  With a global fleet of nearly 30,000 commercial aircraft in service and nearly 2,000 new aircraft added each year, the airlines are continuing to add capacity to support increased passenger demand, expected to nearly double over the next 20 years.

The avionics industry alone is estimated to be a $71 billion USD sector of the aircraft manufacturing industry (2018).

ARINC Industry Activities℠ (ARINC IA℠) develops technical standards by working cooperatively through the AEEC, engineering professionals in the avionics, and electronics segments of the industry. ARINC Standards contribute to achieving a safe, global, seamless, and interoperable aviation system.

ARINC IA conducts internationally-recognized aviation engineering and maintenance conferences that are attended by more than 2,200 industry professionals each year.  This diverse group represents more than 75 airlines, 6 airframers, and more than 425 industry suppliers from 54 countries worldwide.  In addition, these committees create value for the various stakeholders by cooperatively establishing common technical standards and developing shared technical solutions that no one organization could develop independently.

The ARINC Standards represent a long-term strategic investment in the aviation industry. Years of success has shown substantial benefits – especially to the airlines – of their continued participation in standards creation and use.

"If the airlines want to continue to be part of the solution and have input into what technical and operational capability goes into aircraft, then they need to actively support the AEEC," according to Arnold Oldach, an aviation industry expert with experience at both airlines (United Parcel Service) and major suppliers (Honeywell and Rockwell Collins). 

The standards promote competition among airframers and suppliers, provide interchangeability of components, and standardize maintenance procedures.  They also provide a critical starting point for avionics development and allow aircraft manufacturers to pre-wire aircraft to ensure that cost-effective avionics and new installations are compatible.

The 1999 study from Georgia State University's Aviation Policy Research program estimated the savings to the airlines from avionics standardization to be $291 million annually ($433 million in 2018 dollars).  While the economics and business models of the airlines have changed significantly in the intervening years, the impact of AEEC standards continues to have a major positive impact on reducing aircraft construction and maintenance costs.  One airline representative recently remarked that if lessons learned helped eliminate two or three canceled flights per year, those cost savings would more than make up for that airline's annual membership fee support.

Despite record airline profits of $38 billion in 2017, participation in the development of these worldwide standards is not evenly distributed across carriers, nor is the funding properly distributed among operators.  US and European airlines continue to shoulder the majority of effort in creating new international standards, with limited participation from carriers based in Asia, the Pacific Rim, South America, Africa and India. This creates an opportunity for high growth region airlines to increase participation and have a voice in helping shape the standards that are critical to their operations.

AEEC Membership is open to airline operators, airframe manufacturers, general aviation, and the military.  These organizations fund a portion of the AEEC work program and are eligible to be voting members of the AEEC Executive Committee.  Supplier companies and other organizations that benefit from doing business with the airlines are invited to participate as Corporate Sponsors.

Benefits of AEEC membership include:

  • Improving the efficiency of air transportation through the development of new operating concepts and technologies.
  • Influencing the development of new aircraft and derivatives.
  • Shaping aircraft capabilities necessary for operating in NextGen, SESAR, and CARATS airspace environments.
  • Developing consensus-based industry standards reflecting the collective views of aircraft operators, airframe manufacturers, equipment suppliers, regulators, and other stakeholders.
  • Developing meaningful knowledge and relationships that strengthen companies’ operations.
  • Ensuring the viability of AEEC as a long-standing technical resource for the airline industry.

While the benefits of AEEC participation to companies are substantial, the opportunities for professional development and networking is another great reason to join aviation industry professionals.

"In my 30 years of participation and chairing groups, I benefited hugely.  It gave me the background and knowledge to be effective in my professional career," stated Oldach.  "We all stand on the shoulders of those who went before us, but what happens if we don't get our next generation of participation.  Whose shoulders do we stand on?"

Consolidation of airlines has resulted in fewer individuals with the aircraft engineering background needed to provide ongoing product development guidance to the airframers and suppliers. This creates an opportunity for professionals in the aviation industry to become involved and grow as leaders in the industry through their technical contributions.

The AEEC General Session is an ideal opportunity for aviation industry professionals to obtain an overview of the important technical developments in air transport avionics and other aircraft electronics.  The AEEC General Session initiates new standards and it marks the culmination of the standards development work for that year.  In effect, the airline agenda is the AEEC agenda.

For those industry professionals that wish to become further involved, the AEEC Executive Committee serves in a leadership role for ARINC standards development and coordinates nearly 25 AEEC subcommittees which produce the ARINC standards. For more information about the role of the AEEC, feel free to contact the AEEC Executive Secretary and Program Director, Paul Prisaznuk ([email protected]).