Asia is showing the aerospace industry the way out of recession, says Bob Johnson, president and chief executive of Honeywell Aerospace (Stand A712).
"This region is the growth engine for the world's economy and a centre of gravity for the aviation industry. Flying rates are picking up and people are beginning to make decisions about aircraft. We're excited about being in a healthier market," says Johnson.
"We see tremendous growth in Asia and expect the region's commercial fleets to grow at a 6% compound annual rate over the next 10 years, compared with 4% for the rest of the world.
"Passenger confidence is improving, witnessed by an increase in passengers - trans-Pacific and pan-Asian traffic is now almost back to pre-SARS and pre-11 September levels.
"We think Asian aviation is changing too. There are lots of new low-cost operators and the industry is growing, consistent with the whole economy.
"We have a good history with Air Trans, South West, Ryanair and American West and feel that building relationships with Asian low-cost carriers is consistent with our business model. Led by AirAsia, Tiger Airways and Bangkok Airways, low-cost carriers are spreading across the region and we are working with all of them," he adds.
Johnson believes the industry is now past the bottom of the cycle, but will not see significant numbers of aircraft being ordered until 2005/6. Honeywell saw its orders pick up noticeably in the fourth quarter of 2003 and is now projecting sales to be 2% higher this year.
"Locally, we have equipment on board China-based AVIC I's ARJ21 and predict sales of around 500 aircraft over the next 20 years. We have also had a big win for both mechanical and electronic products on both the Japanese Kawasaki C-X/P-X transport and maritime-patrol aircraft," Johnson says.
Honeywell maintains that operators in the region are no different to others around the world in looking to cut their maintenance costs. The company is therefore partnering with Thai Airways and Singapore Airways on Six Sigma programmes to reduce operating costs.
Honeywell has also set up regional spare parts pools to reduce inventory levels with a number of OEMs in both China and Singapore.
Increasing use of e-sourcing for spare parts with a number of customers is also helping them keep track of repairs and orders. Honeywell has been in Asia for 50 years and has 1,100 employees across 12 businesses.
Johnson adds: "We have engine manufacturing and overhaul centres in Suzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing in China, plus Malaysia, Australia and Singapore. Avionics are also manufactured and serviced in Singapore with another service centre in Australia, while landing systems are overhauled in Shanghai and the Philippines, all supported by 11 sales offices in the region.
"In general, we think that this will be a good year for aviation if our quarter-on-quarter improvements continue."
Source: Flight Daily News