This Dec 17, 2017 photo shows the second plane of China's homegrown large passenger plane, the C919, taking off from Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, east China. The International Air Transport Association said in its latest 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast that the biggest driver of demand in the global civil aviation industry will be the Asia Pacific region. (DING TING / XINHUA)
BEIJING – The Asia-Pacific region has become a big driver of the global aviation industry, corporate executives and industry organizations said.
"It is a region of critical importance to us," Steven Lien, president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific, told Xinhua, adding that they are excited to be part of the growth and committed to support it.
The region will be the source of more than half of new passengers over the next two decades, with China as the world's largest aviation market by around 2022 International Air Transport Association
The US aviation giant received a batch of contracts at the just-concluded 2018 Singapore Airshow, to boost regional airline fleets with units such as the weather radar, navigation systems, auxiliary power units, spare parts and maintenance services.
EVOLVING WITH CHINA
Honeywell has been a partner of China for years, according to Lien, who has made numerous trips to China over the past 15 years. He is based in Shanghai since his appointment to the current position in 2016.
At the end of 2015, China' s first large passenger aircraft C919 rolled off the production line, with its auxiliary power system, flight control package, wheel and braking system, and navigation package provided by Honeywell.
Lien witnessed its maiden flight. Lien and his team represented almost 1,000 Honeywell personnel around the world who had contributed to the C919 project.
"China is evolving, and we are becoming better and smarter in the country. We inject talent and resources here, rooting in China and growing with Chinese partners," Lien said.
He is proud that Honeywell's products are on China's C919 and ARJ21, and has developed a supply chain in the country,
And now, his team is continuing cooperation with the C919's developer, COMAC, improving systems during the flight test phase.
According to Lien, Honeywell is in discussions with both COMAC and its Russian partner in wide-body aircraft.
"China is willing to share growth opportunities with the rest of the world. Honeywell has invested heavily in China, and we are picking winners," he said.
The biggest driver of demand in the global civil aviation industry will be the Asia Pacific region, with an eastward shift, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its latest 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast.
The region will be the source of more than half of new passengers over the next two decades, with China as the world's largest aviation market by around 2022, and India, Indonesia and Thailand successively entering the top 10 largest markets, according to IATA.
"As an industry leader, Honeywell always has a high growth strategy. Now, we are injecting our talent and resources to the Asia-Pacific region, the big driver," said Brian Davis, vice president of Honeywell Asia Pacific.
Honeywell Aerospace moved its Asia Pacific headquarters to Shanghai in 2007, one year before China started its C919 large passenger aircraft program. And in 2017, it set up the ASEAN headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Asian airliners, especially those in China, "are very aggressive in enhancing their connectivity capacity to upgrade efficient operation and please passengers," said Andy Gill, senior director of Honeywell's business and general aviation in the Asia Pacific.
In 2017, China saw its civil aviation flight hours exceeding 10.597 million hours, an 11.6 percent year-on-year increase, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
The country's civil fleet reached 3,296 by the end of 2017, with 71.67 percent of flights on time.
"The world's sky is becoming more and more exciting with the strong driver of the Asia Pacific. And we are ready and well poised," Gill said.