In the newest release of the Aircraft IT Magazine Renata Niedziela shares how a laser focuses on efficiency through a data-driven performance, the model has enabled StorkJet to move from a start-up to a successful business in just a few years.
Renata Niedziela is the CEO and Co-Founder at StorkJet. She leads a team implementing a new approach to Aircraft Performance Monitoring and fuel efficiency. Her adventure in aviation started by programming her own QAR raw data reader and analytics tool. Renata holds a master’s degree in software engineering from AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow, and an MBA at the Cracow University of Economics.
Aircraft IT: Your name, your job title, and the name of the business?
RN: Renata Niedziela, CEO and Co-Founder at StorkJet
Aircraft IT: How did StorkJet get started?
RN: StorkJet was originally a university project. In 2014, we started transforming it into a real business. Back then, we did not even imagine that the company would evolve at such a pace. Only in 2021, our team has increased by over 70%. We have also received 4 EU Research Grants, which helped us to develop the most precise performance models on the market. Recently, we have been selected as one of the top four companies out of almost 600 participating in the competition for mobility organized by European Commission. Now, with more and more airlines joining as customers, I can confidently say that we are a serious player in the aviation industry.
Aircraft IT: What is the attraction of aircraft-related software?
RN: That we are here for a reason and to make a real impact. With fuel efficiency solutions, we help airlines to save money and at the same protect the environment, which is a unique combination. In 2021 our customers saved 23.6 million dollars and emitted 106 thousand tons of CO2 less into the atmosphere. To absorb this amount of CO2 in a year, 17 million trees are needed!
Aircraft IT: What is the guiding business principle that drives StorkJet?
RN:The fact that we focus on real savings created by science. We understand how important it is for airlines to work on reliable data, so we provide the best data quality to ensure access to reliable information and results. Our customers get the report outlining the top areas with the highest saving potential. They receive from us specific information on what and how much they can save. Thanks to that they do not waste time on actions that do not bring results.
Aircraft IT: What has been StorkJet’s greatest technical achievement to date, and why?
RN: I would say that what makes us unique is that we utilize tail-specific performance models based on Artificial Intelligence for each fuel initiative that can be implemented by the airline. We have separate models for flight planning, APU, a whole flight profile optimization including climb, cruise, and descent, and also for all the initiatives that can be implemented during arrival and departure. There are 44 initiatives in total. With that, we scan the operations of the specific airline and that gives us a clear overview of where the savings are. Thanks to that we can identify what is the saving potential for each area, how much of the savings have already been achieved, and what is still ahead of us.
Aircraft IT: What has been StorkJet’s greatest business achievement to date, and why?
RN: I think that winning big customers while still being a startup. To be selected as a small company, when the competitors are big players, you need to show to the customers not only that your pricing is attractive, but also that what you provide is better than the competitors, and that you have technological advantages. For us, the biggest challenge and also achievement was moving from the startup stage to winning the customers that are big airlines. Right now I can say that we are a young but mature technology company with a solid base of satisfied customers.
Aircraft IT: What have been StorkJet’s disappointments and what have you learned from them?
RN: I don’t know if this is a disappointment, but we have learned that one thing that we can be certain about is the change. First, COVID happened and turned everything upside down. Now, we have a war in Ukraine. All these changes require us to adjust but also resulted in different areas for the airlines to be optimized. For example, during COVID suddenly statistical planning of taxi fuel became an important area because airports were not in traffic anymore, taxi time was reduced, and so on. We do not know yet what changes the future will bring us, but many external factors can have a huge impact on fuel efficiency. Thus we cannot take for granted that optimizing fuel initiatives once is enough. It’s a continuous process in which monitoring and alerting are key.
Aircraft IT: In a sentence, how would you summarize what StorkJet does for aviation customers?
RN: We provide fuel efficiency and aircraft performance software and consulting, thanks to which airlines can increase the efficiency of their operations, engage pilots to be more eco-conscious, and, as a result, save both fuel and the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.
Aircraft IT: What is new on StorkJet’s development horizon?
RN: The next step for us is to enhance pilots’ experience. We see that around 50% of savings are dependent on pilots’ behavior. This is why we invest heavily in FlyGuide – an EFB app, which informs the pilots how they contributed to the environment and also shares knowledge about how to fly more efficiently. It is also important that messages are positive, and tailored-made for each pilot. In FlyGuide pilots can see personalized targets, compare their scores with their colleagues, and have information on improvements and how they can improve on the next flights.
Aircraft IT: What will be the next big thing in Aviation IT?
RN: Let’s take a look at fuel prices – they have skyrocketed recently. Thus I believe that the biggest focus for the airlines will be to reduce fuel burn, including all the software that supports that. Remember that on top of the fuel prices, we also have the increasing cost of emissions. This forces airlines to explore new areas of savings. Also, due to many changes such as new aircraft in the fleet, new routes, or simply changes in the regulations, there will be the need to constantly monitor which areas to optimize. The latest example is new EASA regulations that will allow airlines to reduce the amount of transported fuel. This will apply however only to airlines that have monitoring robust and accurate Aircraft Performance Monitoring. For those who don’t, it results in a fuel penalty.
Aircraft IT: What do you want your customers to say about StorkJet
RN: What they already say. That working with StorkJet was an eye-opener and it enabled them to look deeper into their operations to find where the savings really are.
Aircraft IT: Renata Niedziela, thank you for your time.
Have you seen other interviews for Aircraft IT Magazine?
Interview with the head of R&D at StorkJet – Emil Kaptur
Interview with the head of Business Development and Vice President at StorkJet – Piotr Niedziela
Our First Live Conversation with Mark Schulz – Founder of Digital Aircraft