Dubai Air Show

Honeywell’s Swiss boss mines global markets

 - November 11, 2007, 6:58 PM

There is a 15-hour time difference between Dubai and Phoenix, Arizona, and the trip takes at least 24 hours no matter which scheduled airline you fly. This is one reason Phoenix-based Honeywell Aerospace (Stand E309) has given its Europe, Middle East and Africa division (EMEA) much more autonomy under the leadership of its new Switzerland-based president Paolo Carmassi.

In a pre-show interview with AIN, Carmassi said Honeywell wants him and his team to have much greater freedom to explore the enormous potential these key international markets offer. “Honeywell hasn’t even scratched the surface of this next wave of growth,” he commented. “We will allow the company to explore this ground thoroughly to see the real texture and character of the marketplace–no longer using a telescope to look at it from Phoenix, but using a microscope to get a much closer view.”

One of Carmassi’s key jobs lies with finding opportunities for more growth of Honeywell’s aerospace business. Another task involves looking for ways EMEA can effectively transfer functions such as product support and aftermarket sales, as well as engineering and production, to locations in these markets. Honeywell has already taken significant steps in this direction with the opening last year of its global design center in the Czech Republic. It is also doing increased volumes of engineering development work at its new centers of excellence in Bangalore, India, and Shanghai, China.

“The question for us is whether we, as a region, add value to something that is being done in the U.S.,” explained Carmassi. In his view, the focus of EMEA will likely shift farther eastward from the mature marketplace of Western Europe. He wouldn’t rule out, for example, the prospect of having more Honeywell infrastructure in places like Dubai, where it already runs a customer support operation. (It also has operations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Johannesburg, South Africa.) “Procurement is migrating across the map much more, and doing customization work, such as software changes and system tests, in more locations will get us closer to our customers,” Carmassi concluded.

“Customer expectations in markets like the Middle East are changing,” he added. “Operators here are no longer willing to take whatever products they are given, and they have more, market clout to demand that we deliver what they want in terms of technology and service. EMEA will ensure that these voices are heard [at Honeywell headquarters].”

Honeywell views the Indian subcontinent as being more in EMEA’s orbit than in that of its Asian division. The company runs its Asia Pacific activities from an office in Shanghai headed by newly appointed regional president Mark Howes.

The EMEA division is Honeywell’s main focal point for relations with governmental agencies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This is particularly true of Europe, where key issues such as rationalization of the air traffic management system are being resolved.

“We can demonstrate that we are attuned to governments locally, which is important because before we would have seen developments like this [Eurocontrol’s SESAR program] through an American FAA filter and Honeywell would have instinctively taken the FAA’s side,” said Carmassi. Conversely, he claimed that European officials are eager to tap Honeywell’s expertise specifically because it can provide the U.S. perspective, which is important in the efforts to ensure transatlantic continuity in ATM issues.

This approach has resulted in two important European Union research-and-development contracts going to Honeywell EMEA.

For instance, under the Erasmus program, where Honeywell’s focus is on-board systems architecture, 200 of the company’s Czech engineers are working on software and avionics initiatives to develop integrated air-ground cooperation/automation ATM concepts to allow controllers to manage three times the air traffic volume.

Under the iFLY program, Honeywell’s personnel are developing ADS-B-based automation systems and other technologies to enable on-board separation assurance in high-density traffic. The goal is to ensure that the software is sufficiently accurate to deliver the four-dimensional trajectories needed for the quantum leap
in ATM efficiency that Europe is seeking–increasing traffic capacity and reducing environmentally and economically unacceptable wasted flight time.

Environmental concerns are a hot issue in Europe and have provided the impetus for Honeywell’s research and development on the so-called more electric aircraft concept. The goal is to reduce the weight of aircraft systems by making greater use of electrical controls to replace mechanical controls and deliver lower fuel burn. An example of a breakthrough in this area is the secondary power distribution system Honeywell developed for the Airbus A380 airliner.

The company is also investing in R&D efforts aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions from engines by changing the thermodynamics and chemistry in the combustion process. One such initiative is Honeywell’s heavy fuel test engine with which it is exploring options for using alternatives to jet-A fuel, including synthetic fuels. It is also looking at ways to generate less scrap materials and other waste in the maintenance, repair and overhaul process through measures such as improved system and component health monitoring.