Air New Zealand is set to trial the use of drones to inspect its aircraft for damage.
The airline has teamed up with ST Engineering to develop an unmanned drone system, called DroScan, that inspects the aircraft's surface and produces high definition images.
The pictures are then processed using software with smart algorithms to detect and classify issues - which can then be reviewed if needed.
The trial will take place at Changi Airport in Singapore, where Air New Zealand's planes undergo heavy maintenance checks.
Air NZ Chief Ground Operations Officer, Carrie Hurihanganui, says the airline is committed to exploring new and innovative ways of operating - including in the aircraft engineering space.
"Using a drone to inspect our aircraft will save time, taking around one to two hours, compared to up to six - depending on aircraft type - which means repairs can start sooner if needed, and our aircraft will be able to get back in the air more quickly.
"We've trialed using DroScan on a number of our aircraft undergoing maintenance inspections in Singapore now and believe using a drone will also help improve inspection quality. In future, there may be an opportunity to use the device in New Zealand, for example to conduct ad hoc inspections after lightning strikes."
Deputy President of ST Engineering's Aerospace sector, Jeffrey Lam, says incorporating new technology will enhance the way aircraft get serviced.
"We believe solutions such as DroScan will drive great value for the aviation industry given the huge emphasis it places on safety and efficiency, and we look forward to using it to great effects after we have completed the trials successfully with Air New Zealand."
The companies are also collaborating to create 3D replacement parts.