Honeywell has claimed that its flight data platform, known as “GoDirect Flight Efficiency”, is now used by more than 2,300 aircraft across the globe. It said the German carrier, Lufthansa, was an early adopter and studies suggested that the airline has since saved around 8,500 tons of fuel every year.
The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) creates and administers flight safety standards in the United States while the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulates air safety around the world.
Persuading those regulators that reducing the amount of contingency fuel on board at take-off is safe for air travel will be the job of both Honeywell and airlines. The firm said that while it doesn’t yet have a pilot customer in the United States yet, it is confident that its system can carry out the type of analysis that will satisfy regulators.
Vasquez said airlines are once again feeling the effects of a rising oil price, and there is a fresh sense of urgency about how to manage fuel use.
“They are saying, ‘so we have put these best practices on the books for fuel savings but how do we know that they are being followed? How do we know that pilots are making the best decisions?'”
Pilots using the Honeywell data are given an electronic tablet in which they can take into the cockpit and visualize the different strands of data relevant to their flight. After the flight is complete, the pilot can then log on to a private site which shows them, and them only, how their flight compared to others.
Commercial pilots don’t pay for the fuel but the burden of safety falls on their shoulders. It therefore could be argued that there is no real incentive for a plane’s captain to take on less fuel. Vasquez said that, in fact, pilots enjoy the additional data and can even be competitive about flying routes on time while burning less kerosene.
“They have a tremendous amount of responsibility to fly the aircraft safely, but they are also performance driven,” she said.