Honey­well Air­craft Con­nec­tiv­ity is about Love is in the Air

India Strategic - - CONTENTS - By Gul­shan Luthra

NEW DELHI. It was a nice flight re­cently on board Honey­well’s Boe­ing 757 Flight Tests Air­craft to see the com­pany’s new high speed satel­lite con­nec­tiv­ity in­no­va­tion. Ev­ery­body wants to be con­nected th­ese days, through mo­bile phones and tablets for per­sonal rea­sons like love for some­one in the fam­ily or a friend, and in­deed for work. And the first thought that came to my mind while fly­ing on this plane for nearly an hour was the 1970s song by John Paul Young and Tom Jones ‘Love is in the Air.’

Young ones and el­ders, par­tic­u­larly those in their teens and twen­ties and thir­ties are of­ten seen ev­ery­where lit­er­ally swip­ing their fin­ger­tips on key­boards all the time to con­nect with their loved ones. A pas­sen­ger could sing, nearly real time – satel­lite con­nec­tiv­ity does de­lay com­mu­ni­ca­tion a bit – Love is in the Air or what­ever to his or her fam­ily and friends.

I my­self used on­board wi-fi, and was able to call my grand­child for a small chat dur­ing the flight into Ra­jasthan af­ter tak­ing off from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port (IGIA)

Con­nec­tiv­ity on­board flights, which has been slow, or not avail­able, has been an is­sue but from now on Honey­well and In­marsat are re­solv­ing this with their hard­ware and soft­ware.

What­sApp, Google, our of­fice emails, all were eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from my iPhone and Black­berry.

Neelu Kha­tri, a former In­dian Air Force (IAF) of­fi­cer who is now Pres­i­dent Aero­space for Honey­well In­dia, pointed out that

un­in­ter­rupted con­nec­tiv­ity is re­quired for flight op­er­a­tions, civil and mil­i­tary, and Honey­well is about in­no­va­tions with pres­ence on nearly every­thing that flies, from air­craft to space­craft, with some piece of its equip­ment.

Air­craft con­nec­tiv­ity is cru­cial for pi­lots and ground con­trol, and in this age of mo­bile phone con­nec­tiv­ity, equally im­por­tant for pas­sen­gers. Busi­ness­wise also, the po­ten­tial in the com­ing years glob­ally, would be around US$ five, six or seven bil­lion.

Neelu, as the pleas­ant young lady is known among friends, pa­tiently an­swered all ques­tions, showed the bank of com­puter con­soles and a dish on­board the air­craft to in­vited jour­nal­ists and ear­lier, civil avi­a­tion and air­line of­fi­cials. “It’s about fu­ture, just as Honey­well is,” she said with a smile.

Sasi Kan­charia, or Sunny as he is known, gave de­tails of var­i­ous sys­tems on board, say­ing that the com­put­ers and an­tenna and re­ceivers could eas­ily be fit­ted on­board all air­craft.

Asked if the high speed con­nec­tiv­ity, a step far­ther from what ex­ists to­day, would help in pre­vent­ing mishaps like that of the miss­ing Malaysian MH 370 jet­liner, he replied it cer­tainly would help but only if the air­craft are con­nected with some com­mu­ni­ca­tion satel­lite, par­tic­u­larly those op­er­ated by In­marsat which pro­vides con­nec­tiv­ity to the ships over the vast oceans. An ex­pert on air traf­fic mod­erni­sa­tion, Sunny said that in the com­ing years, the num­ber of satel­lites would in­crease lead­ing to bet­ter and wider con­nec­tiv­ity all over.

The Honey­well-In­marsat ven­ture would ac­tu­ally help an air­line save costs by in­formed de­ci­sions like se­lect­ing best routes and nav­i­ga­tion, cut­ting on flight de­lays, and every­thing that ef­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tion can do in per­sonal and tech­no­log­i­cal terms.

Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, which is gen­er­ally the first to adopt any in­no­va­tion, has al­ready opted for Honey­well’s new sys­tem.

Neelu Kha­tri, Pres­i­dent Aero­space Honey­well In­dia

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