How APAC airlines are harnessing the IoT

By Kimberly Chua

In recent years, airlines have been able to trying to lower operating costs by taking advantage of internet-of-things (IoT) devices and satellite connectivity to gather real-time data to support aircraft maintenance and anticipate weather disruptions. Here’s a quick look at these benefits which were showcased by Honeywell during a test flight in Singapore last week:

Better weather predictions

According to Honeywell, airlines can improve flight safety and cut flight planning time by half with better flight management, which includes anticipating weather changes during a given flight.

With IoT sensors placed at the nose of an aircraft to capture real-time weather and terrain data that will be transmitted to an electronic flight bag datalink application, flight crews will be able to make better decisions related route safety, according to Garrett Sheets, flight test engineer at Honeywell.

Through faster in-flight Ka-band broadband connectivity ranging from 15 to 40Mbps, this data can also be transmitted to other aircraft for better route management, said Sheets.

Reducing flight delays

Keeping aircraft equipment in tiptop condition is key to reducing the number of flight delays. With onboard IoT devices, airlines will be able to pick up potential faults and address them accordingly before an actual problem arises, Sheets said

This includes problems with auxiliary power units, which are used to spin up an aircraft’s main engines. Honeywell claims its IoT capabilities will reduce APU-related flight delays by 35% and obtain 99% accuracy when predicting part failures.

“With the massive potential for cost savings and improved operations, predictive maintenance is the number one area in which airlines are looking to invest,” said Kristin Slyker, vice-president for connected aircraft at Honeywell Aerospace.

Early adopters

Cathay Pacific is one of the airlines that have started working with Honeywell to achieve predictive maintenance for their aircraft.

During a technology trial, Honeywell was able to help Cathay Pacific save several hundred thousand dollars in operational and reactive maintenance costs per aircraft. The airline had also reduced APU-related delay minutes by 51%, said Brian Davis, vice-president of for APAC airlines at Honeywell Aerospace.

Separately, Singapore Airlines Group has also signed three contracts with Honeywell to improve the operational capabilities of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot.

Kimberly Chua is an APAC intern at Computer Weekly.

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