Honeywell is claiming near total take-up by its airline customers of a programme to derate the auxiliary power units to cut fuel-burn and improve reliability.

The company's 131-9 series APU equips thousands of Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies at airlines that are feeling financial pain and looking to vendors to help ease it.

Honeywell president air transport John Bolton says: "There is a lot of focus now on direct operating costs and how to use capacity more efficiently. One area we are focused on is the APU fuel-burn and reliability.

"We can derate the engine and save about 5%. And now the reliability is up over 10,000h between unscheduled removals, so that reduces fuel burn and the line station burden.

"We are getting the vast majority of customers - pretty well 100% of people take that. There is no downside at all. You are just harnessing the extra performance of the engine and with the improved reliability you save about $10,000 per aircraft per year."

The company is also working in the maintenance field to help new and existing customers.

Bolton says: "Some are where you have an airline migrating from an older fleet to a newer fleet. There are two aspects - how they sell the LRUs [line replaceable units] and spares and the other is how do they get the required line-support that the need."

He explains that is where a separate business unit comes in. "Honeywell Aerospace Trading buys and sells LRUs so we can buy them from the airline and sell them on.

"The other situation is somebody taking on more aircraft. Then we can do a combined asset and power by the hour or flat-rate arrangement. We are trying to help the airlines where we can."

Like other maintenance providers, Honeywell has seen operators deferring work where possible, resulting in a backlog that will eventually have to be shifted.

Bolton says: "I think the bounceback will probably be more prolonged than many people think. For the pent up assets that have been deferred, it will be 12-18 months recovery of those assets and will continue to bounce back for a while."

In the avionics sector Honeywell also believes it can make life easier for customers.

It is working intensively with airlines and air traffic service providers to implement required navigation performance techniques and obtain lower minimums with attendant efficiency gains.

Bolton says: "We are focused heavily on congested airports like New York and Sydney. Many have aircraft have it installed but some do not. So we are generally trying to drive that effort.

"In some areas they are much more aggressive and want to help. New York is maligned, but we are finding they are really engaged in trying to find a solution.

SESAR in Europe and things like that are really helping things along. China is moving quickly and the US Federal Aviation Administration in the regional offices is seeing how quickly other places are moving and so are accelerating."

Source: Flight Daily News