Honeywell eyes potential in aircraft connectivity

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Honeywell Aerospace sees increasing connectivity as an opportunity to develop new products as well as to optimise the performance of existing product lines.

"Connectivity allows broader product offerings and creates new opportunities around connecting off the aircraft," says Jim Rymarcsuk, Honeywell Aerospace's vice-president for marketing and strategic planning.

"[There is a new range] of products, services and capabilities that connectivity enables: smarter products that talk more to the internet and ground bases, and that take advantage of data being created on an aircraft. This is a huge game changer."

Rymarcsuk made the comments during an interview with Flightglobal Pro in Singapore. He was in the region to meet with customers.

He cites a number of ways improved connectivity helps airline customers. First, airlines can generate incremental revenue through the sale of connectivity on board an aircraft. Additional information about flight conditions can make pilots more efficient and additional information about the state of an aircraft before it even arrives can make maintenance crews more efficient.

"Airlines are interested in improved connectivity for all these reasons," he says.

Rymarcsuk believes that Honeywell is perhaps the most broad-based player in the aerospace industry, with its business divided between avionics and mechanical gear. Improved connectivity can help connect these two vastly different product areas.

One example he gives of this is the electric green taxiing system (EGTS) the company is jointly developing with Safran.

"This system weds cockpit controls with the aircraft's auxiliary power unit and finally a mechanical system," he says. "Electronic green taxi is more economical [than using the engines]. It reduces costs and helps the bottom line. We are actively working with many customers and they are very positive."

Honeywell and Safran plan their line-fit green taxi system to enter service for both A320s and 737s in 2016, with the retrofit equipment to follow within a year.

Improved connectivity can also improve the effectiveness of an aircraft's health monitoring system, he adds.

"Now, when you land, a guy downloads [the aircraft's health data] it and looks at it. But if you push it from the aircraft when you're in the air, the maintenance crew can see issues, and these can be resolved during a normal turnaround time. The airline won't need to take the aircraft off the line. It's a huge development."