Honeywell Aerospace’s business and general aviation division started putting down roots in the key emerging market of China just over seven years ago in 2005. Today, the U.S. group believes it has one of the strongest aftermarket networks in the country and, indeed, throughout the Asia Pacific region, with some 42 dealers and service facilities now in place. Here at the ABACE show this week, the avionics and engines manufacturer may well be announcing further add-ons to its China network, in particular.
“We have a very strong presence in the [Asia Pacific] aftermarket, and on the manufacturing side, the market as a whole has seen a lot of growth over the last four or five years, especially in China,” said Rishiraj Singh, director and business leader of Honeywell’s Asia Pacific business and general aviation unit. “We have won positions on several [Chinese aerospace] programs and more are in the pipeline. Back in 2005 we had just two people here [in China] and now we have 27 professionals.”
Last year, in partnership with Dallas Airmotive, Honeywell set up its first major mechanical service center in the region, based in Singapore. This supports a variety of its engines and auxiliary power units, significantly improving responsiveness for operators in this part of the world. It has spare parts pools in Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney.
In China, its dealer network includes representation in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian. Additionally, the support network extends to partnerships with Hawker Pacific here at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport, also with ExecuJet Aviation in Tianjin in northern China and with Gulfstream’s new factory-owned service center in Beijing. In Hong Kong, the company has a close relationship with local business aviation services group Metrojet. “Overall, I’d say that our aftermarket network is more mature than those of other OEMs and our team is well spread out,” Singh told AIN.
Air Traffic Network
In China, Singh acknowledged that one of the main challenges in boosting the potential for business aviation is improving the country’s air traffic management network. Honeywell has been busily proposing its latest cockpit systems, such as SmartRunway and SmartLanding products for guarding against runway incursions and runway excursions, respectively. Also on the agenda in discussions with Chinese operators has been its SmartPath ground-based augmentation system, which can help increase airport capacity, while also reducing noise and reducing weather-related delays.
Additionally, Honeywell has been participating in the U.S./Chinese Aviation Cooperation Program for enhancing civil aviation in China. Singh is co-chairman of the program’s general aviation committee, which is working on topics such as expanding access to low-altitude airspace, developing FBOs and other aspects of flight support.
Teaming with Avic
To date, much of Honeywell’s involvement with China’s ambitious aerospace sector has been through a cooperation with Avic subsidiary Avicopter to provide the LTS101-700-D2 turboshaft engine for the new AC311 helicopter. Its Bendix King avionics unit also has content in this program.
In the fixed-wing sector, Honeywell is providing its latest Apex integrated avionics suite for the Harbin Manufacturing Corp.’s new Y-12F twin turboprop, which is due to complete certification by year-end. The company also is in talks with China’s Caiga (part of the Avic group) with a view to possible contributions to the proposed China New-Generation Business Jet and it is also eyeing partnership opportunities that might arise from Cessna’s plans to manufacturer general aviation aircraft in China.
Beyond China, Honeywell is now proposing the Apex suite to Malaysia’s AeroNimbus for its proposed NMX light jet. It is also in discussion with Mahindra Aerospace’s Gippsland subsidiary about possible cooperation on its general aviation product line and it already has connections with New Zealand’s GA manufacturer Pacific Aerospace.
Singh said he has every confidence that Honeywell’s early and extensive investment in China is paying off and that there is more market growth to come, despite changing economic conditions and operational challenges. “There have always been [economic] fluctuations and changes in regulation but over the past eight years we have not seen anything that has derailed [Honeywell’s prospects in China] negatively,” he concluded. o