Honeywell’s regional aviation business is growing, despite lower demand for business jets, according to Raghed Talih, aerospace leader Middle East for Honeywell Aerospace.
Just over half the company's regional aerospace business is with airlines, and defense and business aviation take an equal share of the rest, he said. “Saudi Arabia and UAE are the two key countries across all three businesses. The Gulf Cooperation Council makes up a big portion of our regional business in the Middle East, plus Egypt.”
The three business segments are growing. “Kuwait is doing well. On the airline side, we see that they have good, solid plans. I think once they have this new terminal up and running and the infrastructure [in place] at the airport, it's going to help overall, in terms of their ambitions to grow.”
Honeywell’s Global Business Aviation Outlook again, as last year, reported flat purchase plans in the Middle East, due to political tensions and ongoing conflict in the region. “[Some] 12 percent of respondents said they will replace or add to their fleet with a new jet purchase, down from 14 percent last year,” it said. “About 32 percent of operators responding to the survey plan to schedule [a] new purchase within the first two years of the five-year horizon. The share of projected five-year global demand attributed to the Middle East and Africa is 4 percent, in line with the historical range of 4 percent to 6 percent.”
The company recently launched ‘Honeywell Forge,' a platform serving aviation and other industries, through big data and machine-learning capabilities. Talih said this new platform will drive airline profitability. “Based on data analytics and artificial intelligence, we identify and resolve problems faster, making fleet management, flight operations, and ground operations more efficient,” he said.
The service will benefit airlines’ daily operations, he said. “Analyzing flight delays and cancellations, a huge cost to airlines, any percentage that you can save in performance enhancement allows operational growth in their revenue. The experience is also tailored, depending on what the customer wants to focus on.
“With the technology around connected [technology] moving so fast, now you have a true pipeline into the aircraft, a live view into what's happening on the flight, from takeoff to landing. There's so much data that you can take out of this process. This is the power of it.”
Depending on where the airline chooses to focus in terms of fleet optimization, it could implement a model based on Forge. “We can help them focus on certain areas of their operation,” he said. “In the end, it's about increasing the availability of their fleet and reducing costs of operation, flight delays, and so forth. If you can improve an operation by a point or two, that's tremendous. It's a level of intelligence that the operators never had before.”