“Paperless cockpit” steers software business to soaraway success

A business which provides software solutions to literally lighten the load for the post-Covid aviation industry has soared ahead as airlines continue to seek savings, improve flight safety and increase operational efficiencies.

Shane Spencer (left), CEO of Bytron Aviation Systems and Keyzo IT Solutions with chief operating officer Simon Clayton and colleagues from both businesses outside The Deep Business Centre.

Bytron Aviation Systems led the bounce back after Covid by helping its clients dramatically reduce the amount of paperwork needed for each flight – with a significant knock-on reduction in fuel usage, time wastage and costs.

Now sister company Keyzo IT Solutions is catching up by investing to expand the range of next generation human resources and health and safety software solutions which it supplies to a range of business sectors.

Shane Spencer, CEO of both businesses, is plotting a course for significant growth with the target of more than doubling turnover in the next three years.

He said: “Currently our airline side dominates the business and accounts for about 80 per cent of what we do. One of our missions is to balance that out so we are working to restructure Keyzo and scale that side of the business.”

Keyzo was founded by Shane in 2009 and it moved into the aviation industry with the acquisition in 2014 of Bytron, where he had previously spent more than four years as a software engineer and project manager. 

Shane brought both businesses together at Bytron’s offices in Kirmington, near Humberside International Airport, and the organisation expanded to a second site at The Deep Business Centre in 2019.

Since then the group has made key appointments across the UK, Europe and Canada and now serves around 140 customers across 105 countries with a team of 50 staff which is expected to grow by at least 10 in the coming months.

Bytron took off by meeting the demands of an industry which was desperate to cut costs post-Covid.

Shane said: “A lot of businesses were struggling during this period but despite a worrying time we continued to experience year-on-year growth.

“We found airlines that had reduced their flying hours had more time to evaluate products on the market that would help them improve their operational procedures.

“Our systems provide a perfect solution, allowing airlines to improve efficiency by saving time, paper load and fuel bills. Ultimately our aim is to help airlines improve flight safety and enable them to analyse fuel and reduce usage to help towards a reduced carbon footprint.

“Typically a crew briefing for one of our flights could produce massive amounts of paper that include fuel plans, weather information, navigational charts, aircraft manuals and a whole host of essential supplementary information advising of any problems along a route. We collate all that data and put it on their iPads.

“We have achieved near enough a paperless cockpit for our customers by digitising this mammoth amount of data. To put it in perspective, a mid-size airline with 50 aircraft saves about £128,000 a year in printing costs and approximately £75,000 in fuel.”

Meanwhile Keyzo has increased its presence at The Deep from eight people to 20 with its industry agnostic induction and onboarding systems which provide management of inductions and training along with tools for the authoring and dissemination of important notices, policies and procedures, ensuring the recipient has downloaded and understood them and signed them off.

Shane said: “We have a very ambitious and exciting development roadmap across both businesses. As of our year-end in September, we are a £4m business running at 30 per cent profit.

“We are investing quite heavily at the moment in order to scale up, with an aim to be a £10m-plus business in the next three years. Part of the investment is technology – we have an impressive infrastructure set-up. The other part is people, building bigger teams whilst maintaining our culture.”

Freya Cross, Head of Business and Corporate at The Deep, said: “Bytron and Keyzo are reaping the rewards of their flexible approach to the issues which began to affect businesses less than a year after they opened their office here.

“They maintained their presence here by adapting their face-to-face approach to embrace remote working and that enabled them to expand their geographical reach. Their specialist software solutions not only met the urgent requirements of the aviation industry but have also helped businesses in other sectors who needed to modernise their processes.”