American aerospace major Honeywell International, which flew in a ‘connected aircraft’ to the city today, estimates a $7 billion market for the connected aircraft segment globally over the next few years if there is a rapid adoption of such technologies. As of 2015, around 25,000 planes are equipped with Wi- Fi on board, according to its in-house estimate and believes that rising demand from passengers makes investing in such technologies much cheaper for airlines. “We can offer our connected aircaft technologies and services at a cost that is cheaper than what an airline spends today in hardware, software and content to offer in-flight entertainment and information. Per passenger cost for these services/facilities are very high today,” Sasi Kancharla, sales leader for West Asia at Honeywell Aerospace said. He was addressing a select group of reporters on-board the connected aircraft-a Boeing 757, offering a demo while being on-board here today.
The Boeing 757 test aircraft is loaded with high-end technologies, and was flown into the city last night. The aircraft will also showcase its connected technologies, which can help airlines to reduce fuel consumption, maintenance cost and provide high-seed Wi-Fi on board in Delhi tomorrow. A connected aircraft helps the pilot visualise the landing at a difficult airport ensuring a smooth landing, while for a passenger on a connected plane can get the same Wi-Fi speeds in-flight as she/he gets at home. It even alerts an engineer what parts need repair before the flight lands, thus helping in faster turn around.
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Kancharla said Honeywell Aerosapce, which offers a host of avionics services and product, such as engines and propulsion systems including on-board data connectivity, has already initiated talks with domestic carriers and the regulator to deploy these technologies which can make Wi-Fi available on board aircraft. He claimed their technology can make an aircraft a connected one yielding many positive results for the airline, pilots, maintenance crew and passengers. For instance, a connected aircraft can reduce fuel cost and emission by 5 percent, as it can receive, transmit, analyse and share data enabling more informed decision-making by the pilots, cut operational costs and improve the overall flying experience.
He said Honeywell already provides 10-100 times faster Wi-Fi speeds onboard to a many airlines including Lufthansa, Emirates and many American airlines. He also expressed hope that the DGCA would allow carriers here to install this technologies. Citing the economic benefit of a connected aircraft, Kancharla said worldwide flight delays alone are eating up an estimated $25 billion annually and a grounded commercial jet while being worked on can cost up to $10,000 an hour. A connected aircraft can avoid all that.
“We are getting good response from our aviation customers and we are in talks with many Indian carriers for the deployment of connected technologies,” Neelu Khatri, president for aerospace, Honeywell India said.