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[Herald Interview] Honeywell taps deeper into Korean aviation market

US firm working with Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and local low-cost carriers

US aircraft solutions provider Honeywell is tapping deeper into the growing Korean aviation market with its new connected aircraft and flight efficiency solutions that help save fuel costs.

In the last five years, Korea’s air traffic has increased by an average of 6.9 percent per year, outpacing the global average of 5.6 percent, according to government data.

Honeywell expects this growth to be sustainable, as Korea is focusing on attracting more visitors to the country.

“South Korea remains a priority market for Honeywell. We are looking to collaborate more with Korea’s airlines to optimize their operations and add value to their businesses,” said Brian Davis, vice president of Asia Pacific Airlines of Honeywell Aerospace, in an interview with The Korea Herald.

Honeywell, a Fortune 100 software-industrial company headquartered in Arizona, provides connected aircraft solutions for airlines, business jets, general aviation, helicopters and defense.

In Korea, it works with key government agencies and local airlines, including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and low-cost carriers in diverse areas including auxiliary power units. 

Brian Davis, vice president of Asia Pacific Airlines of Honeywell Aerospace (Honeywell)
Brian Davis, vice president of Asia Pacific Airlines of Honeywell Aerospace (Honeywell)

The US firm hopes to increase its partnership with local airlines in the area of its connected aircraft and flight efficiency solutions that save fuel costs.

Fuel is one of the single largest contributors of an airline’s cost component, typically accounting for 20 to 40 percent of its total operating cost. In the past year, the jet fuel price has increased by about 35 percent globally.

“Although airlines in South Korea have the option to increase their airfares to mitigate the impact of the rising fuel cost, they risk losing passenger loyalty, especially with competition in the region becoming stiffer with the expansion of low-cost carriers,” Davis said.

Instead of increasing airfares, the airlines could protect themselves against rising fuel costs through connectivity and data analytics software, he added.

The entire aviation industry is looking at the best ways to embrace the data-rich environment. Just a single twin-engine plane can generate up to 844 terabytes of data from 12 hours of flight.

“Being able to utilize this data meaningfully brings huge benefits to the entire aviation ecosystem -- from pilots and flight crews to air traffic controllers and maintenance personnel on the ground,” he said.

The firm’s connected aircraft solution can help airlines receive, transmit, analyze and share data in real-time. This means that maintenance crews on the ground can access maintenance data to monitor the condition and performance of an aircraft even when it is 35,000 feet in the air, enabling timely and more informed decision-making, according to Davis.

The firm’s flight efficiency solution can also help save costs by pulling together all flight variables, such as flight plans, weather, navigation charts and aircraft performance, to present them to pilots and operators, he said.

“The consolidated information provides a comprehensive look at fleet and environment data, allowing pilots and operators to plan efficient flight paths, adjust for weather and utilize historical information on airports,” the vice president said.

Honeywell’s flight efficiency solution is used by over 35 customers globally, including Japan Airlines, International Airlines Group, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, KLM and Lufthansa. They have experienced fuel savings up to 5 percent, according to Honeywell.

By Shin Ji-hye (