Honeywell believes that its track record in supporting air transport development in China stands it in good stead to pioneer the expansion of business aviation too. “Honeywell has been a pioneer in [business aviation] support in China,” said Rishiraj Singh, the avionics and engine manufacturer’s director and business leader in the Asia Pacific and China region. “We set up our first dealer seven years ago, long before business and general aviation grew, and now we’ve got ten channel partners spread across the country.”
The company’s Asia Pacific headquarters was moved from Singapore to Shanghai in 2007. It operates forward-stocking locations in Shanghai, Singapore and Australia and, explained product support vice president Tim Beatty, it is looking to place stock at other Chinese locations.
Singh told AIN that Honeywell attempted to be involved at a very early stage when business-aviation FBOs were setting up so that the necessary maintenance approvals could be gained. For engine and APU support, the company has partnered with BBA Aviation’s Dallas Airmotive, which opened a new regional turbine center at Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park earlier this year. The Seletar facility is to receive its first Honeywell TFE731 jet engine in May.
Honeywell’s Asia Pacific president Briand Greer said the opening up of low-altitude airspace is a key issue, but it is “very complex, given that it is owned by the military.” Last year, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese aerospace group Avic to establish a national air traffic management (ATM) laboratory. “There are three aspects here: first, policy is very complex; second, procedures have to be established for how the airspace is going to operate; and third, with technology we need the systems to handle [projected] volumes safely and efficiently,” he said.
Singh also said Honeywell hosted a delegation of Chinese ATM managers visiting the U.S., taking them on an in-depth tour its business jet flight department at Morristown Airport near New York City. “We gave them a taste of business jet operations in the United States,” he said, including how small piston-powered airplanes safely mix with business jets and airliners in the New York airspace. “I think the CAAC is very much on speed with industry standards,” he explained. “We’re looking forward with keen anticipation for the opening up of low-altitude airspace in China. I think that would be a big game-changer.”
Honeywell is ready for business aviation growth in China, claimed Singh, with an already-built infrastructure of service facilities and channel partners available to support existing and future fleets. This includes dedicated Honeywell field service engineers and customer support managers, all of whom speak both Mandarin and English.