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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Technology will be key to dealing with China’s growing air traffic

(Global Times) In China, airports both new and old face flight congestion challenges due to the steady growth in air traffic, a trend that is expected to continue to increase over the next two decades.

According to a forecast by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 1.2 billion people will be flying in China each year by 2034, up by 758 million passengers from 2014.

 With such a large increase on the way, investing in the right technology is critical for reducing air traffic.

Expanding airports could be one solution, insiders said, but advanced technology can also help better managing air traffic.

In a recent exclusive interview with the Global Times, Steven Lien, president of Honeywell Aerospace, Asia Pacific, shared his understanding about the Chinese market and highlighted several solutions that address air traffic control challenges in China. 

"China is a big market with huge opportunity. A closer cooperation with our partnership is very important for our business," Lien said at the ATC 2016, which concluded last week. 

"We will continue to support our business in China, build closer cooperation with our partners, continue to invest a lot in the technology and make more efforts in localization," Lien noted. 

Honeywell moved its Asia-Pacific headquarters to Shanghai in 2007. In China, Honeywell's Aerospace business boasts four industry leading joint ventures and one wholly owned facility in China. 

The company has established key partnerships with China's leading State-owned commercial aerospace enterprise, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, on the C919, the largest commercial airliner designed and built in China, and the ARJ-21, the country's independently researched and developed aircraft. 

Air traffic solution 

According to a report released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in May, bad weather was the biggest cause of flight delays from May 2015 to April 2016, followed by air traffic control issues and the military reasons.

To solve the problem, Honeywell launched its SmartPath Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS), which offers a cost-effective, precise navigation solution that aims to increase airport capacity, reduce air traffic noise and decrease weather-related delays. 

The system is quite flexible, and can guide aircraft to the best and fastest path, thereby expanding airport capacity, reducing air traffic noise and maximizing the operational efficiency of airports and airlines, the company said. 

Last year, Honeywell conducted a flight demonstration using its SmartPath system at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. 

As an example, Honeywell's SmartPath GBAS will be the first technology of its kind certified for civil air use in China. 

"This will make it possible for airports to handle increased air traffic, keeping passengers' flights on time," Lien said. 

The company said SmartPath is expected to receive the certification in eight to nine months in China, and will approve for the Chinese market in 2017 at the earliest. Lien also discussed his expectations for in-flight Wi-Fi technology in China, as Bloomberg reported that CAAC is considering lifting restrictions on the use of mobile phones on airplanes, and the authorities are likely to amend regulations and relax the restrictions by the end of this year or in early 2017.

A recent survey of airline passengers by Honeywell found that nearly three out of four passengers were prepared to switch airlines to get access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Air China to work together on in-flight Wi-Fi, "but we are still at the first stage." Lien said. "We are working on that."

Source: Global Times by Tu Lei

from China Travel & Tourism News


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