Honeywell Exclusive Interview by Aviation Technology
posted on Jun 12, 2016
Honeywell Exclusive Interview: Sonja Strand, General Manager, Global Airports Business at Honeywell and Raghu Seelamonthula, Technical Sales Director, Airport Business at Honeywell
By Fares Bou Daher
Air traffic is witnessing a significant increase every year, how can Honeywell contribute to achieve smooth traffic flow at airports?
Sonja Strand - Honeywell has a unique position in the aviation industry because we provide technology and support to a wide array of stakeholders, from airports and air navigation service providers to aircraft manufacturers and airline operators. Because of this wide exposure, we’re very familiar with the industry’s challenges and requirements, and use this position when developing solutions to solve challenges such as air traffic flow at airports.
In terms of our specific technologies to help achieve smoother traffic flow at airport, we have developed and implemented multiple systems for runways and taxiways that guide pilots and ensure aircraft reach the runway or gate quickly but also in a way that’s safe and smart.
One example of a smart airport system is our ‘Follow the Greens’ technology that was recently implemented at Dubai International. The system guides the aircraft from the runway through to the taxiway or vice-versa using green lights that help pilots safely navigate through the airport's complex network of taxiways, even in the case of reduced visibility.
Another smart system from Honeywell is the docking guidance system which provides higher gate efficiency, as it guarantees automatic and precise guidance for aircraft along the guidance line, to its final parking position at the gate.
We also have our ground-based augmentation system (GBAS), a satellite-based precision landing system designed to increase airport capacity, decrease air traffic noise and reduce weather-related delays. It also reduces operating costs for both the aircraft operator and air navigation service providers.
Raghu Seelamonthula - Our work with air navigation service providers, airline operators, ground handling operators, and airport operators enables us to have the ability to connect all of the entities together. If you take the Middle East as an example, there is a lot of airspace congestion and the need for expansion among capacity constrained airports is high. Honeywell technologies play a key role in ensuring that air traffic is kept smooth.
As a manufacturer of GBAS that mainly depends on Satellite Communication, are all aircrafts equipped with the required avionics to communicate with GBAS system?
Raghu Seelamonthula - At this point of time, almost 4,000 aircraft are equipped with the GLS option. It depends on the airline operator as well as the purchase options. For newer aircraft such as like Boeing 787, Boeing 737 Max, Airbus A380, Airbus A350, and Airbus A320, GLS is a standard option. If the aircraft operators have purchased this option, then they will have access to the GLS feature. The new aircraft coming to the market now, are all equipped with the GLS option.
For the aircrafts that are already on the ground, there are multiple options available to buy from aircraft manufacturers. We are developing integrated multi-mode receivers that can be fitted in all aircraft types, meaning that there is an option for most aircrafts to become GLS enabled if they aren’t already.
Middle East will host two major events in the coming few years, Dubai Expo 2020 and Qatar World Cup 2022, how can Honeywell help ANSPs to increase capacity and safety?
Sonja Strand - As you know, Middle Eastern airports are usually very innovative and are always looking for new technologies to improve the passenger experience and to increase traffic flow. Honeywell is able to play a key role here. We usually partner with our customers and work with them to help them expand and realize their goals by bringing in new and innovative technologies. Alternatively, we integrate solutions provided by third parties to meet the needs and expectations of our customers.
For Dubai Expo 2020 and the FIFA World Cup 2022, the key is how to improve traffic flow, while maintaining safety and increasing capacity, and we are continuously working with our partners to ensure they have the right technology at their disposal.
What industry standards are applicable to “Honeywell Follow the Greens”?
Raghu Seelamonthula - The ICAO Document 9830 clearly defines the various levels of A-SMGCS services. First, there is a basic service of surveillance, then comes conflict management and finally, there is the routing guidance.
The “Follow the Greens” system covers all of the services. The basic surveillance provides the aircraft situation awareness for the air traffic controller, as well as letting them know how the ground traffic is progressing. The system is equipped with Safety Net functions which provide information about potential conflicts, a prediction capability as well as resolution techniques. From the routing aspect, the system helps to generate routes, identifying the shortest and quickest, using the guidance of the green lights. The system is deployed in compliance with ICAO Document 9830 and SESAR standards under Eurocontrol.
As a major player in the airport and aviation business, how would you evaluate the market for the next 10 years?
Sonja Strand - “Progressive” is maybe the best word to describe the aviation industry in next 10 years. The sector has been running in a very conventional way for a number of years. However, technology is now changing rapidly which will enhance the airside and passenger side of the experience. Smart systems and smart applications will be widely implemented to improve the passenger experience, as well as increasing capacity and safety in the airspace. For airside, there will be a major change from conventional halogen lights moving to LED. The more intelligent ground lighting and guidance systems such as “Follow the Greens” will be widely implemented.
Raghu Seelamonthula - In the next 10 years, there will be a more efficient, connected aviation eco-system in place. This means there will be more integrated, connected systems for airports and airline operators, ground handling operators, and ANSPs to work together towards a more efficient air transportation system.