Honeywell Prepares to Tap Latin Business Aviation Growth

 - August 10, 2013, 9:00 AM
Honeywell PlaneView cockpit.

Business aviation’s hopes for the famous BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were somewhat dented last year by mixed economic fortunes across the board, but they continue to be the focus of long-term optimism. In Honeywell Aerospace’s next edition of its annual Global Business Aviation Forecast, to be published at the NBAA show in October, the industry giant is still expected to be among the optimists and appears set to confirm a continuation of growth in the Latin American market.

The avionics, engines and cabin systems group’s last forecast in October 2012 indicated that 39 percent of Latin American operators had plans to buy new jets in the next five years (a seven-point increase on 2011). Honeywell’s forecasters predicted that almost 70 percent of the region’s planned purchases would be made in the following three years (that is, by the end of 2015). It projected that 688 new aircraft would be purchased by Latin American operators over the five-year period.

In the 2012 forecast, Honeywell’s analysts expected Latin America to account for 18 percent of worldwide demand for business aviation over the following five years. That’s exactly equivalent to the far more mature European marketplace, and also more than the Asia Pacific region (7 percent) and the Middle East and Africa (5 percent) collectively.

According to Mike Rowley, Honeywell Aerospace’s sales vice president for business and general aviation, the company’s diverse position supplying equipment to current production business jets leaves it well placed to capitalize on the anticipated upsurge in orders. Of the aircraft makers exhibiting here at the LABACE show, Honeywell (Stand 1004) has supplied systems to Airbus Corporate Jets, Boeing Business Jets, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, Beechcraft and Pilatus.

Honeywell’s connection with Brazilian manufacturer Embraer is especially strong, as typified by the fact that its new Legacy 450 and 500 jets are powered by the 6,540-pound-thrust HTF 7500E engines. The company’s Ovation Select cabin management system is standard equipment on all of Embraer’s current jets. Its Primus Epic and PlaneView avionics suites have had a significant impact on many business aircraft cockpits.

Honeywell’s aerospace division has around 50 employees in Brazil and the majority of these are based at Embraer’s San Jose dos Campos headquarters. The company is set to appoint a second business and general aviation sales manager to support aftermarket efforts in Latin America, having earlier added a regional sales representative for its Bendix King products. The group’s management presence in the region last month was further bolstered with the appointment of Benjamin Driggs as the new president of Honeywell Brazil; he will be based in São Paulo.

According to Rowley, system upgrades are another key part of Honeywell’s aftermarket ambitions in Latin America. The company estimates that there already are some 2,800 turbine-powered business aircraft in the region, and as many as 300 currently have various avionics systems supplied by Honeywell and legacy companies, such as Bendix King and Sperry, that operators might see a case for modernizing.

Another upgrade opportunity is presented by the popular Cessna Caravan utility aircraft, which can be re-engined with a Honeywell 1,100-hp TPE331-12JR turboprop. This powerplant promises some 30 percent more power, while reducing fuel burn by around four gallons per hour and operating costs by as much as $40 per flight hour.

Honeywell sales and support in Latin America is currently provided through a network of authorized dealers, most of which are affiliated with its customers (that is, the aircraft manufacturers) plus some independent facilities. Rowley told AIN that the next step in the development of customer support for the region will likely see Embraer fulfilling its declared ambition to establish a factory-owned engine service center at its existing facility at Gavião Peixoto in Brazil.

Across Latin America, Rowley indicated that business aviation demand fluctuates considerably with pockets of market growth focused in locations such as Mexico City (where Honeywell has a sales representative) and the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires. In recent years, there has been a surge in demand for helicopters centered around Rio de Janeiro, with much of this driven by Brazil’s boom in offshore oil and gas exploration.