Connectivity is all about ef­fi­ciency and pro­duc­tiv­ity and it can be used by ma­jor air­lines, the smaller air­lines, the busi­ness and cor­po­rate aviation, even de­fence air­craft. Honeywell In­ter­na­tional, brought in a ‘con­nected air­craft’, a Boe­ing 757, for the

SP's Airbuz - - Table Of Contents -

Neelu Kha­tri, Pres­i­dent Aerospace, Honeywell In­dia, talks to Ro­hit Goel of SP’s AirBuz about Honeywell’s con­nected so­lu­tions for the In­dian mar­ket.

SP’s AirBuz (SP’s): Talk­ing about on-board connectivity, has there been any kind of re­search that Honeywell has con­ducted to iden­tify the de­mand? Neelu Kha­tri (Kha­tri): This is a great mar­ket for us. Only when we see a great need in the mar­ket, do we start tak­ing up the R&D ac­tiv­i­ties. Over­all, we are look­ing at $7 bil­lion in ‘con­nected’ theme, a por­tion of which is Wi-Fi connectivity.

SP’s: What kind of time, money and ef­fort has gone into the de­vel­op­ment of this so­lu­tion? Kha­tri: It has been on for many years. The so­lu­tion came out of Honeywell in the last 4-5 years but the de­vel­op­ment phase is much longer in the aerospace world.

SP’s: And, what is the cur­rent sta­tus?

Kha­tri: Glob­ally, Lufthansa air­line is us­ing it. Sin­ga­pore Air­line is an­other that is us­ing it. We are in talks with many air­lines in­clud­ing LCCs across the world. We have con­ducted this two-day demo flight in Mum­bai and Delhi. We flew with the clients and there is im­mense in­ter­est com­ing up both from Govern­ment, pri­vate air­lines, full-ser­vice, de­fence, etc. We had a lot of at­ten­dees both from the Min­istry of De­fence and the Min­istry of Civil Aviation.

SP’s: What about per­mis­sions and clear­ances from var­i­ous reg­u­la­tory bod­ies? Do you al­ready have them in place? Kha­tri: As far as the pol­icy is con­cerned, the min­istries are deal­ing with the reg­u­la­tory body that is work­ing on it. As and when we are called in, we give our in­puts. As far as the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, on the prod­ucts are con­cerned, we have it. Some things we don’t have, that would come up as and when the reg­u­la­tory go ahead is given in In­dia. The im­por­tant part is that we are ready and are ex­tremely ex­cited to be com­ing up in In­dia. This is the first time our con­nected air­craft ac­tu­ally came to In­dia. For Honeywell, In­dia is a high-growth re­gion. So we wait for the nod from the Govern­ment. As and when it comes, we will be ready.

SP’s: Are you of­fer­ing this only to commercial air­lines or busi­ness and cor­po­rate aviation as well? Kha­tri: Connectivity is all about bet­ter main­te­nance, sav­ing costs, bet­ter Wi-Fi connectivity onboard and it can be used by ma­jor air­lines, the smaller air­lines, the busi­ness and cor­po­rate aviation, even de­fence air­craft. It is all about ef­fi­ciency and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

SP’s: What will it take for a commercial air­line to con­vert its air­craft into Wi-Fi en­abled? Kha­tri: The ex­ist­ing air­craft will have to go in for a retro­fit. For the newer air­craft on or­der and most of the air­lines in In­dia have gone in for huge or­ders, it means to add as and when they re­ceive it, it gets fit­ted in. Cost will de­pend upon the so­lu­tion that the air­line wants. There are var­i­ous kinds of so­lu­tions that are avail­able and the cost de­pends upon it.

SP’s: Will it in­volve a re­duc­tion in num­ber of pas­sen­ger seats?

Kha­tri: No, the so­lu­tion will not take any seats away. It is a so­lu­tion that gets fit­ted on the roof of the air­craft and gets con­nected with the air­craft. All the pas­sen­gers need to do is to bring their own de­vice, go to the set­tings and get it con­nected.

SP’s: Will this not lead to noise pol­lu­tion in a con­fined space? What do you think about it? Kha­tri: No. The so­lu­tions, be­fore it comes up in the mar­ket, be­fore we launch it, there are ev­ery sce­nar­ios that are tested on th­ese so­lu­tions. There are years of R&D that hap­pens. We are very com­fort­able that there is no im­pact on the qual­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness of the so­lu­tion ir­re­spec­tive of the num­ber of pas­sen­gers onboard the air­craft.

SP’s: Should there be any reg­u­la­tion or pro­to­col gov­ern­ing the use of in-flight connectivity by the pas­sen­gers? Kha­tri: I think it is more about dis­ci­pline. If you travel in the US and Europe, there is Wi-Fi connectivity avail­able on air­craft, even on lo­cal trains. There is some kind of a dis­ci­plinary guid­ance that most of th­ese providers give to the pas­sen­gers. If we are able to do that, I don’t see any prob­lem. It is more about dis­ci­pline which I am sure that the air­lines will also give out those guide­lines.

SP’s: What kind of a price point would a pas­sen­ger be will­ing to pay for Wi-Fi onboard? Kha­tri: That is up to the air­lines to do the re­search and talk about. It is re­ally not for us to say. We are there with the tech­nol­ogy, with dif­fer­ent types of so­lu­tions that we can of­fer to the needs that the air­lines come up with – what kind of range, what kind of band­width, how many peo­ple, that is up to us. Pric­ing is def­i­nitely de­cided by the air­lines.

SP’s: So what are your ex­pec­ta­tions from the In­dian mar­ket? Kha­tri: For us, it is a big po­ten­tial. We call In­dia as our high­growth re­gion. All eyes, both from do­mes­tic lead­er­ship to global lead­er­ship are on In­dia. We know that th­ese are ex­cit­ing times in terms of fleet ex­pan­sion, fleet ac­qui­si­tions, more num­ber of tails fly­ing, the re­gional connectivity scheme emerg­ing out in In­dia. The im­por­tance that we give from Honeywell to the In­dia mar­ket which is our high-growth re­gion is very, very high!

Honeywell’s Boe­ing 757 Con­nected Air­craft


On-board the ‘Con­nected’ air­craft, the range of con­nected so­lu­tions from Honeywell is show­cased

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