Arinc casts eager eye on growing Asia Pacific airline fleets

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US firm Arinc sees major sales opportunities from rapid fleet growth among Asia Pacific carriers.

"In terms of passenger traffic, Asia is the fastest growing market in the world, growing at 7% per year," says Michael DiGeorge, managing director of the firm's Asia Pacific division in an interview with Flightglobal Pro.

"With that, airlines are adding to their fleet size. As they do so, we have to support those aircraft. Our business will grow with their business."

Arinc's business in Asia Pacific is focused on four key product areas, with a common theme being the transfer of various data sets - flight information, engineering information, voice communications, passenger details - between key stakeholders involved in airline operations.

The three biggest areas are Globalink, a range of voice and data services for airlines; Avinet, a range of messaging systems airlines can use for internal and external communications with industry partners; and Airport IT solutions, a series of products that assists airports in developing their IT infrastructure.

"We can integrate all of the IT that goes into an airport," says DiGeorge. The company also offers products such as automated check-in kiosks.

Each of these three Asia Pacific focus areas contributes about 30% each to the company's revenue in the Asia Pacific region. The fourth biggest contributor, at 10%, is the company's product range that provides communications and other services for the Asia Pacific's growing business jet market.

The company is also active in the defence space, but this does not fall under DiGeorge's portfolio in the region.

DiGeorge, a 23-year veteran of the company, was promoted to his current role in January. Prior to this, he held roles at his company's headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland and later in London and Hong Kong. His main role in Hong Kong was to support Cathay Pacific's acquisition of a major flight deck communications upgrade programme that fell under the firm's Globalink range.

At the time of the deal, which was announced on 26 July 2012, Arinc said that the system would provide Cathay Pacific aircraft with a "fully-customised, integrated communications management of flight operations, data communications services, cabin services, maintenance, diagnostics and vital safety information."

"Cathay was a huge launch for us," says DiGeorge. "It was big in terms of dollars, but critical in terms of launching our whole e-enabled product."

While there have been no contracts since, the company is talking to more customers about it, he adds.

One element of the package that DiGeorge says is of great use to airlines is the ability of both flight and cabin crew to transmit highly-specific data about the aircraft's condition during flight. If the cabin crew identifies a faulty seat, for example, this data can be transmitted to a ground station, allowing a technician with the appropriate replacement part to be waiting for the aircraft at the gate.

"The airline could then use that seat to generate revenue on the next leg," says DiGeorge.

The company also sees big opportunities in business jets. ARINC supports 2,500 business jets globally. He notes that the Asia Pacific has just 250 business jets, but that this is growing by 70 aircraft every year. There is a big opportunity to support this growing fleet with air-to-ground datalinks and cabin connectivity.