First Scandinavian airline adopts software from ABQ

ByLance T. Lee

May 20, 2022
The Ultramains electronic logbook appears on the iPad on the left, alongside other cockpit displays, so pilots can digitally record any technical issues before, during and after flights. (Courtesy of Ultramain)

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

Scandinavian Airlines System signed a fleet-wide contract this month to replace all of its paper-based technical, cabin, trip and refueling logs with Ultramain’s electronic logbook software. This will allow pilots and cabin crew to digitally record any technical issues for real-time sharing with ground maintainers.

With more than 120 aircraft in SAS’ main fleet and around 60 more operated by SAS subsidiaries, this is one of Ultramain’s largest contracts since before the global pandemic hit in early 2020. said John Stone, vice president of product management for Ultramain.

“We do the whole fleet,” Stone told the Journal. “It’s no small operation.”

Ultramain, a local New Mexico company that started in 1980, began deploying its TechLog software system about a decade ago.

Prior to this, the company had already established a foothold in the aviation industry with ground maintenance and logistics software for monitoring and scheduling maintenance and repair of vehicles and other assets. Sales of this software system helped boost the company’s revenue to $10 million in 2002, although Ultramain no longer discloses its revenue.

Sales of the ground software system continue, but the launch of Ultramain’s 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 the reams of paper flight logs that pilots and crews must fill out each time they fly regarding cockpit and cabin operations and issues. It features a touchscreen interface that speeds communication with ground maintenance operators, enabling faster turnaround times so 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 newly developed “online electronic checks” system to replace paper-based maintenance check sheets to facilitate rapid review and confirmation that all required aircraft checks are performed 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 data digitally as soon as connectivity is restored.

The SAS deal reflects the rebound in the aviation industry from 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 are facing labor shortages,” McCausland told the Journal in an email. “Digital transformation projects such as this are a major part of this strategy. We’re busier now than we’ve ever been, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

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

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