Image: Honeywell

APEX Insight: Kristin Slyker, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice-president of Connected Aircraft spoke to APEX Media about the company’s “Power of Connected” world tour. “Honeywell is no longer just building technology and engines for aircraft; we are changing the way we fly altogether,” says Slyker.

Honeywell kicked off its “Power of Connected” world tour on May 31, promoting its portfolio of technology, applications and services for aircraft. The aim of the tour is to showcase Honeywell’s hardware and software capabilities on board its Boeing 757 Connected Aircraft at 35,000 feet. The company has been inviting industry and media representatives on its special test flights in five cities including San Francisco, Dallas, New York and London. The Connected Aircraft will arrive in France tomorrow, ahead of the Paris Air Show. APEX Media spoke to Kristin Slyker, Honeywell’s vice-president of Connected Aircraft to find out more about the tour and the technology on board its Boeing 757 test aircraft.

Kristin Slyker, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice-president of Connected Aircraft. Image via Honeywell Aerospace

What’s the inspiration behind the Power of Connected world tour?

The aerospace industry is going through a digital shift, and Honeywell is leading the way by creating a completely Connected Aircraft and showcasing that aircraft around the world. Over the last 100 years, Honeywell has built much of the technology used in flight and now we’re using our expertise in the industry to enter this new digital era. In particular the Internet of Things is top of mind for all industries and we are making it relevant within aerospace.

Is there a trend on the part of in-flight connectivity providers to generate press coverage through these test-bed aircraft junkets? Why is this such an effective way to get your message out there?

Aircraft test flights allow the everyday passenger and individual to understand in-flight technology, they are able to see how the technology within an aircraft ultimately impacts their journey, through improved efficiency by saving time and avoiding delays and increased safety in the air. As an experienced manufacturer, we’ve created a dedicated business unit to focus on developing our Connected Aircraft offerings and supporting the industry in connecting aviation. Honeywell is no longer just building technology and engines for aircraft; we are changing the way we fly altogether.

Who is the customer that Honeywell is trying to attract here? Is this a B2B exercise, or are you attempting to educate passengers as well? 

Honeywell’s Connected Aircraft affects passengers, pilots, airlines, operators and maintainers. We’re on our world tour to educate every person involved in flight on how Honeywell is connecting hardware and software on an aircraft and bringing together the best technologies pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight. These technologies are essentially increasing efficiency in costs, reducing airtime and avoiding delays, and fleet managers, passengers and flight and ground operations will see a change in the way we fly because of these benefits.

What are the stops on the tour and why were these cities selected? What’s the biggest stop as far as publicity generation goes?

Our Power of Connected world tour started in the US at the end of May 2017 and will be stopping in various states in the country before making its way to Europe, in time for Paris Air Show. Each stop on our tour is important, with interest from influencers all over the world. Paris will be one of the most important stops as it coincides with Paris Air Show, and Honeywell can show its technologies to many relevant industry customers, media, business leaders and peers.

What sort of kit is on board the 757 and what kinds of data speeds can it sustain? Which airline is this set to launch with and when? How many airlines have signed up for this service?

Inmarsat’s GX Aviation is powered through Honeywell’s JetWave hardware system, which provides high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi for passengers. It’s specifically designed to meet the needs of modern aircraft and passengers, and uses three Inmarsat Ka-band bandwidth satellites with spot-beam technology to give aircraft the internet speed and reliability that passengers are used to having at home or in the office. Passengers get 10-100X faster Wi-Fi with fewer dropped connections around the globe. Across Europe, Honeywell’s JetWave hardware has received EASA approval for many of the most broadly used aircraft in the airline industry, including the 737, 757, A320 family and A350, as well as VVIP STCs for the A330, A340, 737BBJ.

JetWave hardware is available on a number of leading global airlines including Lufthansa Group, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Air Caraibes, Air New Zealand, Sri Lankan Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Air Astana. Other airlines and key updates can be found on the Honeywell website.

What is the biggest operational advantage to having a fleet of nose-to-tail connected aircraft? 

Connected Aircraft technologies increase efficiency throughout the aircraft, essentially making the in-flight experience more comfortable for pilots, passengers and flight crew while giving maintenance teams on the ground better awareness of the situation in the air.

Where does this aircraft go after the tour? What’s its next job?

Honeywell’s Power of Connected world tour is definitely one the longer tours the Boeing 757 aircraft will take, traveling through various cities in a number of regions. After the Paris Air Show we plan to visit the UAE, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. After the tour is complete the aircraft will return to Phoenix where it will support various engine testing requirements and other programs across the Honeywell portfolio. We look forward to continued customer demos that are requested from the buzz our Connected Aircraft world tour creates.