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Tuesday, 26 December, 2017, 10 : 12 AM [IST]

‘Hazardous weather conditions can cost the aviation industry billions of losses each year’

Mangalore Airport is one of the most difficult airports for takeoff and landing, due to its close proximity to the sea and the size of its runway. In North East India, Aizol and Silchar often have harsh weather conditions and tough terrain, says Siddharth Sen, Director - Marketing & Business Development, Honeywell Aerospace, India, in an interview with Prasenjit Chakraborty.
Q What are the challenges faced by pilots in India during bad weather conditions? What could be the consequence?
In India, pilots face conditions like turbulence, brutal crosswinds, mountainous terrain and busy airspaces, leading to the two major impacts of weather, safety in the air and efficiency of operation. These conditions differ from region to region which pose as a challenge for pilots who need to quickly adapt to their surroundings and sudden weather changes while flying and landing. Temperature and winds can have a significant impact on fuel burn and on-time performance of an aircraft.

Bad weather conditions near an airport can create communication problems between the pilot and ground staff. Mangalore Airport is one of the most difficult airports for takeoff and landing, due to its close proximity to the sea and the size of its runway. In North East India, Aizol and Silchar often have harsh weather conditions and tough terrain. And, in the busiest Indian airports such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, rough weather conditions such as heavy rains and fog have often deterred pilots from flying causing flight delays, aircraft downtime and cancellations.

Q What are the impacts of frequent delayed flights due to bad weather for an airline and on the aviation market at large?
Hazardous weather conditions can cost the aviation industry billions of loss each year. Reports by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) show that bad weather conditions are the main cause of flight delays. Inclement weather can also cause downtime and cancelations, negatively impacting passengers, airlines and airports. In fact, according to reports by the DGCA, airlines in India have compensated their passengers with over INR 22 crore between January and May 2017. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, turbulence alone costs the global airline industry more than USD 100 million each year, or USD 150,000 on average, per incident.

Q What are the technological solutions that Honeywell provides to make flights safe?
To help face difficult weather conditions, Honeywell’s IntuVueTM RDR-4000 3D weather radar system is the only automatic radar system that produces a three dimensional, 180 degree display of weather from the ground up to 60,000 feet, and out to 320 nautical miles ahead of the aircraft. The IntuVue weather radar predicts hazardous weather and helps the pilot reroute accordingly and take early avoidance measures. In addition to weather radar, Honeywell provides high-speed connectivity with JetWave, using Inmarsat’s GX Aviation network, to help pilots stay seamlessly connected to flight operators and air traffic controllers at all times. In-flight connectivity also allows pilots to receive real-time updates using the GoDirectTM Flight Preview application, displaying a 3D approach for landing at difficult airports to ensure a safer and more efficient flight for all on-board.

Q What is the level of adoption of such technology in India?
As per the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation’s report, India is on the road to becoming one of the largest aviation markets for domestic passengers in the world and currently ranks third globally. These developments, along with the government’s initiative to introduce the Regional Connectivity Scheme, will encourage airlines to explore new routes within the country. Airports, aircraft and flight crews should be equipped with advanced technologies, which will allow them to navigate and manage passenger traffic more efficiently.

Q Can you give us example of Indian airlines using Honeywell technology solutions? How the airlines benefitted by using your technology?
Honeywell has been operating in India for more than 50 years and has built strong relationships with key customers. Air India’s Boeing 777 fleet is equipped with IntuVue 3D weather radar to get accurate updates in real-time. The weather radar system has helped enhance pilot’s situational awareness and enables them to make better decisions in case of unexpected or emergency climbs or descents. There have been occasions during the monsoon season, where pilots have had difficulties with the descent into Delhi airport and the tomographic display has helped request a quick change of route, enhancing passenger safety.

Q Which are the other Honeywell technologies for pilots that will be a game changer in the Indian aviation market?
A key safety concern is landing in difficult and crowded environments; the International Air Transport Association has shown 65% of recorded aviation accidents occur during approach and landing. Honeywell’s SmartRunwayR and SmartLandingR software allow pilots to decrease risk through better positional awareness and visuals. In addition to connectivity and services offerings, Honeywell’s avionics provide pilots efficient planning and flight management systems, allowing a smoother inflight journey for all onboard. The Primus Epic system is installed and flying in the world’s most advanced aircraft. The system allows access to more airports, increased safety, reduced crew workload and meets the changing regulatory compliance and airspace requirements.
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