Business aviation is about moving forward, saving time, and always improving – particularly on the technologies used in day-to-day operations. The tools ATP provides to help operators improve their maintenance processes makes this very apparent.
We sat down with Rick Noble, ATP’s Chief Executive Officer, to discuss the past, present, and future of ATP’s offering. Rick was appointed CEO of ATP in June of 2017 and brought to the company more than 35 years of experience within data, content, and software companies. He has led several market-leading digital publishing organizations over the course of his career, having had the CEO title at many of them.
It seems like there is quite a history with ATP – can you tell us about it?
Yes, ATP has been around for quite some time, having been founded in 1973 by Caroline Daniels and her father Bill, with an original mission of creating a comprehensive regulatory library. The concept that evolved, and which is still relevant today, was to aggregate that regulatory content with technical publications from a variety of OEMs and component manufacturers. The goal was to make it easier for the maintainers of business and general aviation aircraft to have access to the content they need to service their aircraft safely and efficiently – by having it all in one place.
Given that the company has been around for more than 45 years, advances in technology have undoubtedly had an impact on the company?
Absolutely. ATP has followed the typical information industry evolution from print to microfiche to CD ROM to online. Of course, online is how we make everything available today, through the ATP Aviation Hub™. We also support mobile use and tablets, plus offer APIs so that certain partners can offer access to Hub content via their own applications.
But it seems like the value proposition for your customers really hasn’t changed?
I’d say it has become stronger over time, especially for our customers that service many different types of aircraft. While we count individual owner/operators among our user base of 6,500 accounts, we also have many MRO businesses using the Hub. The last thing an MRO owner wants their mechanics doing is having to jump from website to website and interface to interface to find what they need to complete their work. By using the ATP Aviation Hub they can get what they require through a single portal, be assured that it’s up to date, and also know that the relevant regulatory content they need from agencies, such as the FAA and EASA, is also there.
You must think of the OEMs and component manufacturers you work with as customers as well?
We certainly do. Our business model is simple – we license content from these manufacturers, package it into libraries so that our customers can subscribe to exactly what they need to service the makes and models they are maintaining, and we pay a royalty back to the manufacturers. As I mentioned earlier, we have about 6,500 user accounts which make up roughly 50,000 users. These users span over 90 countries, so we are able to provide a significant reach for the manufacturers in terms of distributing their content far and wide, everywhere their products are being used around the world.
Don’t some of these manufacturers have websites of their own that offer access to technical publications?
Yes, some do, but in many cases, they still make their content available through ATP because they recognize the value the single interface or “one-stop-shop” has for many of the maintainers of their products. They also trust that we’ll respect and protect their intellectual property and they know that our reach into many regions and countries is often greater than they might achieve on their own.
All that said, we also serve OEMs who make ATP the exclusive source of their tech pubs. In those cases, they often tell us that they would rather focus entirely on designing and building aircraft and/or aircraft components, versus managing technical publications and making them available to end-users. The fact that ATP sells, invoices and collects from users, takes customers service calls, creates and maintains libraries, integrates regulatory content and monitors their proprietary IP can take what might otherwise be a significant burden off of the OEMs.
Can ATP Aviation Hub users add their own content to their accounts?
Yes, we offer tools that allow them to do just that. For example, the Profile & Compliance tool in the ATP Aviation Hub application allows you to create a profile of the components on your aircraft and then track compliance with Airworthiness Directives (ADs) and Service Bulletins (SBs) for each component. Creating an aircraft profile in the ATP Aviation Hub application is a simple step that enables other valuable features. When creating a profile, you enter some basic details for the airframe, engine(s), propeller(s) and appliances on your aircraft. Next, you can add any component you want to track using simple drop-down menus to select the manufacturer, model, and other necessary information. You can also add custom components to match the “as-maintained” configuration of the aircraft.
What can we look forward to from the ATP Aviation Hub™ in the coming months?
We have some enhancements planned to the aforementioned Profile & Compliance tool and improvements to our Windows Desktop application, which also allows access to the Hub when you are away from an internet connection. And of course, we are always looking to add additional content to the ATP Aviation Hub. We hope to make some announcements about new OEMs joining the program this Fall.