Modernising Indian Airports with Honeywell Technologies

As India’s civil aviation sector works towards its potential, there are major investments in infrastructure happening. One of them is airport infrastructure to make aircraft movement seamlessly smooth, safe and efficient. Honeywell Aerospace is in the forefront of such development. Here Arijit Ghosh, President, Honeywell Aerospace India, talks about various solutions that Honeywell has on offer for India.

By SP's Team

SP’s Aviation (SP’s): With aircraft movement having increased and further deployments due, the airspace is no doubt getting congested, causing snags, ‘near misses’, runway incursions, etc. How is Honeywell addressing such issues?

Arijit Ghosh (Ghosh): The Airports Authority of India (AAI) estimates that aircraft movements, passengers and freight at all Indian airports are expected to grow at a rate of 4.2 per cent, 5.3 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, for the next five years. With passenger numbers expected to reach 540 million annually by 2025, there are a number of challenges that occur with managing congestion; not least the need to continue ensuring the highest level of passenger safety and comfort while building a sustainable infrastructure that supports the ever-growing passenger demand.

Honeywell Aerospace’s work at Chennai International Airport, in partnership with the AAI, is one example of how we are helping to create solutions that ease flying congestion in India. Honeywell’s SmartPath Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) is the only FAA-certified GBAS. This system increases airspace capacity and ATC flexibility by providing the aircraft with augmented and highly accurate satellite navigation data to help it land. The system increases airport capacity, decreases air traffic noise and reduces weather-related delays. It also offers substantial maintenance savings compared with older instrument landing systems (ILS) that are commonly used today, as it requires less costly calibration and on-airfield hardware.

SP’s: India has embarked upon modernising airports, both big and small. Could you explain how Honeywell could help in modernising regional or no-frills airports? We should keep fund constraints in mind while thinking about next-gen solutions for smaller airports.

Ghosh: With India investing heavily in airport infrastructure in the next few years, Honeywell is committed to supporting modernisation projects to ensure efficiencies are available to meet evolving needs now and in the future. Honeywell has a range of technologies that cover all areas of airport — terminals, airside and landside. Honeywell’s technologies for airport terminals improve the passenger experience and increase efficiency. Honeywell’s systems can intelligently manage ambient temperature and lighting, for example, to ensure passengers are comfortable while in the terminal building, while at the same time reducing energy consumption. Safety and security is also extremely important, and Honeywell’s wide range of CCTV, zonal fire management systems and access control technologies ensure that regardless of airport size, passengers can be kept safe with some of the most advanced systems on the market. For airside operations, Honeywell’s advanced control systems for airfield lighting and docking systems help deliver safe and efficient airside operations.

Honeywell has been part of India’s airport modernisation programme with its technologies delivered to airports like New Delhi Terminal 3, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata to name just a few. Honeywell has achieved many firsts in the country too, like the CAT-IIIB airfield lighting system at New Delhi Airport Runway 11-29.

SP’s: What are the advantages of Honeywell’s Next Generation ATM systems? Could you quantify them in terms of fuel savings, etc?

Ghosh: The future air traffic management (ATM) systems will rely on a large number of different technologies at every stage of flight, all of which must work in harmony to improve efficiency and ease congestion. The extent to which countries and their airlines and airports adopt and integrate these systems will determine the level of efficiency gains so it is very hard to quantify precisely the improvement in efficiency that India’s commercial operators will see in the future.

That said there are a number of systems available; either directly related to ATM or that offer indirect traffic management benefits, which could have a tangible benefit on operations today. One example is our SmartTraffic TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System. SmartTraffic uses Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) to enable the aircraft to communicate with those that surround it. This enables aircraft to fly closer together, even in oceanic airspace where ground radar cannot cover. By using SmartTraffic ATC could approve altitude change requests faster and enable aircraft to fly more efficiently, allowing operators to save as much as $1,00,000 per aircraft per year.

Our SmartPath GBAS can deliver considerable benefits too. As well as increasing landing assurance to reduce costly delays and diversions, the maintenance savings it offers over ILS are considerable. Honeywell calculations show that depending on the operational profile at the airport, GBAS can offer up to $4,00,000 in annual maintenance savings alone.

SP’s: What is the Honeywell differentiator in ATM systems?

Ghosh: It is vital that every stage of the flight is enhanced in order to improve ATM and reduce congestion. Honeywell technology portfolio spans the entire flight, from the moment a passenger arrives in the airport car park, to the moment they pick up their bags at their destination. Our solutions address the needs of all key stakeholders in the ecosystem, which are government bodies, air navigation service providers; airport operators, airlines and passengers, and we deliver these in markets all over the world. Consequently we understand how each stage of flight interacts with each other, which in turn helps us better understand each individual stakeholder’s challenges regarding capacity and efficiency.

SP’s: India is now in the ‘Make in India’ mode. What is the strategy of Honeywell to help develop products and solutions here?

Ghosh: One of Honeywell Aerospace’s key partners in India is the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Beginning over 40 years ago, Honeywell collaborated with HAL to manufacture the Honeywell TPE331 turboprop engine, which was the first fully manufactured engine in India. The engine powers the Dornier 228 aircraft, which is operated by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. Our partnership has now expanded to include other technologies for indigenous HAL platforms, such as the advanced light utility helicopter and light combat aircraft.

Announced in 2014, Honeywell and Tata Power SED will collaborate on the co-production of Honeywell’s TALIN inertial land navigation technology to offer the Indian armed forces a new choice for locally produced, inertial navigation. The combination of our technical expertise and Tata Power SED’s ability to offer quality local engineering will deliver a high performance, locally produced precision navigation option for India’s military for the first time.

Partnerships like ours with HAL and Tata Power SED are critical to the success of the ‘Make in India’ movement. With the government’s efforts to secure additional foreign investment into the country, Indian companies can gain access to the technology, skills and international markets required for sustainable defence growth.