Airlines 'on cusp of major investment wave’ in connected aircraft tech
Honeywell’s new Connected Aircraft Report finds that commercial aircraft sector spending on connected technologies is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years.
Connected technologies are defined as those that make use of data sent to and from the aircraft to benefit passengers, pilots and operators. Some examples include applications that track fleet fuel usage; give pilots landing and navigation aids; crowd-sourced weather information accessed via mobile devices; and analytics solutions that use data from smart sensors, sending it to maintenance personnel or aircraft operators during flight.
The Honeywell Connected Aircraft Report surveyed 106 maintenance personnel, flight and ground crew, fleet management personnel and other key stakeholders in the commercial airline sector on near- and long-term technology purchase plans.
Key findings included:
- 81% of respondents cited connected technologies as a high or very high priority for their business
- 86% of respondents said they were looking to make a connected aircraft purchase over the next year and the number jumps to 95% over the next five years
- 61% of respondents are planning to spend more in the next year than they currently do on connected aircraft technology, and 69% are planning to spend even more in the next five years
- 27% expect a return on investment in 12-18 months, and 28% expect a return in 19-36 months
- About half of the respondents expect to spend up to $1 million per aircraft on connectivity technologies over the next year, with most looking to spend $100,000 to $500,000
- 38% expect to spend at least $1 million per aircraft on connected technology in the next five years
- 17% plan to spend more than $10 million per aircraft on connected technologies over the next five years
The report finds that spending will be largely focused beyond the cabin, with maintenance ranking highest among the pain points that airline decision makers want to tackle, followed by reducing fuel consumption and cutting turnaround time. Investment in connected technologies is expected to rise significantly during the next 12 months, and to increase even more rapidly over the next five years.
Kristin Slyker, vice president, Connected Aircraft, Honeywell Aerospace, said: “The airline industry is beginning to seriously invest in connected aircraft technology to proactively improve daily operations. The result is airline employees performing their daily roles more effectively, while also delivering the kind of service that passengers expect, including increased safety and on-time arrivals.
“With the massive potential for cost savings and improved operations, predictive maintenance is the No. 1 area in which airlines are looking to invest.
"Our research revealed nearly 60% of airlines are looking to purchase predictive maintenance technologies over the next year, and even more are expected to invest down the road.”