Air Transport World

Sweetening the pot. (Honeywell Inc. Space and Aviation Systems) (company profile)

Phoenix, Ariz.-Poking through an old house full of artifacts of a simpler era, you might come upon an early thermostat, a very basic instrument, marked with the name Honeywell. It probably still will be in use. Today, that name also represents some of the most advanced thinking and technology in aircraft avionics and related systems, ranging from the complete MD-11 cockpit to the 777's airplane-information-management system (AIMS), to collision avoidance, satellite communication and navigation.

Honeywell long has had a presence in the aviation industry but it was with the 1986 acquisition of Sperry Aerospace that the company became the nearly full-range supplier that it is today. And with the MD-11 cockpit behind it, fresh from substantial awards for MD-90 and 777 cockpit work and the prospect of the MD-12 coming down the pike, the Honeywell name fast is becoming as ubiquitous in airplanes as it has been for generations in homes.

Avionics manufacturers have proved that consolidation has not taken up exclusive residence with the U.S. airline industry. While significant niche players still liven up the market, the ranks of heavy hitters have been whittled down to two-Rockwell Collins and Honeywell-each holding about 40% of the market based on dollar sales volume, with Bendix/King holding the next-largest slice, some 11-14%. That leaves a meager 6-9% for the remaining players to tussle over.

Honeywell has been aggressive in the past and intends to remain so. Studies are under way into how best to plug the one gap in the Honeywell air-transport product line-radios.

Today, the word "radio" seems as quaint as a coil thermostat, yet it does describe one thing that Honeywell does not provide in a full range for transport aircraft-communications gear, a product line with which Collins has significant experience. It must be said that Honeywell does have a full communications line for business and commuter aircraft.

In the recent past, Honeywell has become a larger player in the generic radio," or RF, field. While a longtime producer of radar altimeters, its relatively new, high-technology RF products include traffic alert and collision-avoidance systems (TCAS), Mode S transponders and satellite communications hardware. …

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