The commercial aviation market has been steadily increasing the use of RFID in their Technical Operations which can be broadly classified in two categories, RFID for flyable parts and to air worthiness of the aircraft and RFID for ground operations and maintenance.

The aviation market has traditionally lag others in data standards across every aspect of information capture, but has begun adoption of the Air Transport Association (ATA) SPEC2000 to improve structure and transferability of data. Differences in certification requirements among regulatory agencies (FAA, EASA, etc.) has previously hampered adoption of RFID on serialized aircraft components, but driven by common business goals of an outsourced, open sourced, global supply chain, the airline industry, led by Boeing and Airbus have collaborated to develop an industry standard for automatic data capture, using GS1/EPC RFID standards of RFID in ATA SPEC2000 for permanent parts marking.

The application of RFID technology in the Aviation industry has many proven benefits, with the ultimate objective being continued air safety. From a RFID tag perspective, the good news is the technology is certainly ready for the aviation market today but four years ago, this wasn’t the case. Passive UHF tags do not perform well on metals due to the detuning effects of antenna and metal tag packaging needs an insulation material between the antenna and the metal surface to work at all. Further complicating this is the availability and cost of high/low memory chip, the tag durability for environmental use and the size and form factor of the tag for use around small assets and for curved assets such as oxygen generators. 

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