The aerospace industry is in the midst of a digital transformation that will change the flying experience for millions of people across the globe. We no longer have to be disconnected from the rest of the world when we’re soaring across oceans at 35,000 feet. High-speed Internet connectivity on aircraft is no longer something we strive for, but rather a differentiator for airlines that want to put efficient operations and passenger comfort at the center of their business. The “Connected Aircraft” is clear for takeoff.
"The industry evolves to become totally connected, we’re looking forward to doing more than just putting new technology on planes. We’re changing the way we fly"
What is the Connected Aircraft?
We all hear about the internet of things, big data and high-speed data transfer. But what does this really mean as it relates to aviation?
The connected aircraft is not just about watching in-flight movies and scrolling through your Facebook feed. It’s revolutionizing modern-day flying by dramatically improving fleet management, flight safety, passenger experience, maintenance, flight operations, turnaround time and costs.
Opening the data pipe to and from the aircraft reveals a variety of opportunities for flight crews, fleet managers, air traffic control, maintenance personnel on the ground and others. Suddenly, the aircraft becomes a data-rich node on a larger network, leveraging new technology and more reliable high-speed Wi-Fi connections to link an airplane’s components and equipment to immediately send, receive and analyze data.
Using big data, analytics and secure communications technology, aircraft operators are now better able to anticipate opportunities they couldn’t have imagined a few short years ago.
The Connected Aircraft is the New Crystal Ball
To put it simply, the connected aircraft is allowing us to predict problems before they happen. The industry now has the capability to look into the future to predict what aircraft parts need replacing before they break, what unexpected bad weather pilots need to re-route around, and what tricky landings pilots have upcoming on their schedules.
The connected aircraft can receive, transmit, analyze and share data, enabling more informed decision-making, cost reductions and an improved flying experience. It anticipates opportunities and offers unique insights by harnessing the power of analytics with the confidence of a secure communication link to and from the aircraft.
For fleet managers, the connected aircraft means a reduction in fuel costs and emissions by up to 5 percent and operational disruptions by 35 percent. Flight operations get a more efficient network, reducing disruption and saving 5 percent in-flight time with air traffic control. Finally, ground operations will reduce grounded time, avoid costly hazards and cut troubleshooting time by 25 percent.
Just one example of how the connected aircraft can be put into action is with GoDirect Flight Efficiency service. It provides tools to drill down and optimize flight paths as well as to assess tradeoffs between flight distances and fuel burn. On average, that means airlines can save 8,500 tons of fuel a year. To put that into real numbers, IATA said the overall airline’s 2018 fuel bill is forecasted at $156 billion. A 5 percent reduction equates to $7.8 billion.
Through a dedicated business unit, Honeywell has created a strong focus on developing connected aircraft offerings and supporting the industry in connecting aviation. We do this with a highly diverse and talented team that includes pilots, dispatchers, meteorologists, maintenance professionals and application engineers practicing agile development—and with the backing of 8,000 aerospace engineers.
As the industry evolves to become totally connected, we’re looking forward to doing more than just putting new technology on planes. We’re changing the way we fly.