19 Mar 2017

Next-generation Aircraft Need Next-generation Connectivity

The aerospace and defense (A&D) industry is investing in tomorrow’s planes and for good reason. In terms of Defense, authorities look to next-gen fighter planes for air superiority. Commercial airlines, on the other hand, need more fuel-efficient, lower-maintenance next-generation aircraft that can either replace or complement their old craft, enabling them to remain ahead of the competition.

EgyptAir, for one, has a nine-plane deal with Boeing to add 737-800 next-generation planes to its 20 craft fleet. Likewise, Jet Airways is considering the acquisition of 75 Boeing 737 Max planes worth over $7.5 billion. Boeing believes that starting this year, “the 737 MAX – with its efficiency, reliability, and passenger appeal – will redefine ‘workhorse’ for decades to come.”

OEMs, on the other hand, should build next-generation spare parts to support the demand for next-gen aircraft. GE Aviation, for example, develops next-gen jet engines, such as LEAP, which “holds components from ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs) and 3D-printed fuel nozzles,” and the already pre-ordered GE9X jet engine, which is considered the world’s largest engine that will be in service by 2020. The GE9X jet engine has the capability to power Boeing 777X, a next-gen wide-body passenger jet.

But beyond investing in next-gen spare parts, the A&D industry should also supercharge their next-generation planes with next-gen connectivity.

Next-gen Connectivity

According to Sergio Aguirre (as cited by NBAA), “twenty-five years ago, at the time AirCell launched, connectivity was viewed as a tool to work; a productivity thing… Today people no longer look at connectivity necessarily with work. They associate it with their entire lifestyle, whether it’s relax, play or work.” And this is regardless of their location. Be they on the ground or up in the air, people want to stay connected.

This is the reason why airlines such as those in the Middle East are “aggressively investing in advanced in-flight connectivity technologies” to provide a superior flight experience to their passengers.

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Source : Dinakara Nagalla President & CEO at EmpowerMX

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