Apple Inc. (AAPL) and IBM Partner in Aircraft Maintenance ProgramAuthor: Muhammad NadeemLast Updated: March 12, 2020 Two airlines, Japan Air Lines and Finnair, will use Apple Inc. iPhones and iPads as part of aircraft maintenance programs. The airline companies signed separate deals with International Business Machines Corp. to use custom iOS apps built with the IBM MobileFirst for iOS to improve their aircraft maintenance and streamline operations.Two years ago, Apple and IBM formed a partnership to explore opportunities in the enterprise sector. IBM builds industry-specific business apps for iPhone and iPad under the brand IBM MobileFirst for iOS.iOS Apps For Aircraft MaintenanceFor airline engineers, improving the efficiency of aircraft maintenance is an important issue. Engineers get a short amount of time between landing and takeoff to check maintenance status, prepare maintenance manuals and adjust any necessary parts. Additionally, they need to communicate with related departments all while traveling between the airport apron and maintenance office.The IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps eliminate manual-based processes and reduces time spent on preparing and reporting technical issues. It allows engineers to focus on identifying higher-level issues by saving time on routine maintenance checks. They can check the estimated arrival time, review the most up-to-date flight schedule and be alerted of any gate changes using their iPad and iPhone. Moreover, engineers can report the progress of tasks and share aircraft preparation status for a flight immediately.IBM and Japan Air Lines inked an agreement to build two iOS applications – Assign Tech & Inspect and Turn – to streamline the aircraft maintenance process. The airline’s engineers will use iPad Pro and iPhone to access tools and processes to expedite repairs and modifications to the aircraft.The apps, Inspect & Turn and Assign Tech, will provide Japan Air Lines’ employees deep insights for smarter business decisions and elevated performance. Inspect & Turn allows engineers real-time access to all the relevant data from the airline systems of record, including work history, crew reports and necessary parts and tools required for the job. Assign Tech allows aircraft engineer supervisors to better prepare for each maintenance task by utilizing analytics on repair times, required parts and tools, and information collected in-flight.“Traditionally during aircraft arrival and departure, engineers have to travel hundreds of meters between the airport apron and the office in order to receive and relay information,” stated Heidi Fillmore, global industry executive partner, IBM Travel & Transportation. “We’ve tapped our deep knowledge of the airline industry to develop a mobile solution that puts critical information in the hands of flight maintenance employees to enhance the collaboration among JAL aircraft maintenance teams and improve airport processes, contributing to flights arriving and leaving on time for a better travel experience.”Finnair, Finland’s largest airline, also signed a deal with IBM to utilize iOS enterprise apps to support the airline’s overall digital transformation.The airline said that it will use IBM’s new app design and development model called Mobile at Scale for iOS, which allows companies to design and develop multiple iOS apps. The program reduces the cost and time of development by as much as 25%, according to IBM. The airline will also roll out IBM MobileFirst for iOS Assign Tech in early 2017.Apple Stock UpdateShares of Apple are up 11.11% for the year. The company’s stock has gained 22.98% during the last six months. On Tuesday, the stock closed up 0.27%.Apple DevicesCiti Research analyst Jim Suva believes that shares of Apple Inc. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will surge in 2017 for five very good reasons. Citi Research has a “Buy” rating on the stock with a $130 target price, representing around 15% upside.Apple is rumored to launch a complete new iPhone possibly called the iPhone in 2017.According to Citi research analyst Suva, the upgrade cycle with the iPhone 8 launch will be much stronger compared to the previous two upgrade cycles. He predicts that iPhone shipment will surge at least 7% in fiscal year 2018.