Honeywell Aerospace announced today that Virgin Atlantic Airways will be the first airline to install its new flight management service to help airlines increase efficiency and improve fuel conservation.
The new Honeywell Flight Management System (FMS) Datalink Service will provide pilots with access to updated and customized wind and temperature information to better optimize the vertical profile of a flight and improve fuel predictions. Virgin Atlantic will implement the system on its unique, long-haul Airbus A330 and A340 fleet, where time and fuel savings can be maximized.
“Our Virgin Atlantic and Honeywell teams have worked together to develop and introduce this excellent service,” said Phil Maher, executive vice president, Operations, Virgin Atlantic. “I am confident that the fuel efficiencies and operational improvements that we experience as a result of this will have a very positive impact on our operation, our customers and our people.”
The new Honeywell FMS Datalink Service taps into the company’s connectivity and flight management expertise to provide continuously updated wind and temperature data directly to the aircraft in-flight from Honeywell’s Global Data Center (GDC), an innovative flight support service.
Access to the latest forecast data for wind and temperature is especially effective on long flights where small changes in the forecasted wind or temperature can have a major impact on the optimization of altitude selection, top-of-descent point calculation, and speed management. Each of these elements can significantly improve fuel efficiency.
“The cost of fuel is one of the largest operating costs for our customers, and we created the first flight management system in the 1970s in response to the industrywide fuel crisis to help customers save money and fuel,” said John Bolton, president, Air Transport and Regional, Honeywell Aerospace. “Now we’re evolving our flight management systems by offering a new service that will enable them to provide optimized flight-level recommendations to flight crews, which will give Virgin Atlantic pilots the tools they need to make in-flight decisions that will save time and greatly lower fuel consumption — two things that directly impact their bottom line.”
In addition to making the latest weather forecast available in-flight, the Honeywell FMS Datalink Service also uploads the initial flight plan into the FMS upon request, saving time and allowing the flight crew to concentrate on other critical pre-flight tasks. Without the FMS Datalink Service, pilots would usually input the flight plan and weather information manually before the flight.
Honeywell has been a leader in FMS since it created the technology in the 1970s. Traditional FMS makes its calculations based on information such as wind and temperature predictions at particular locations and altitudes along an airplane’s flight path. To make those predictions, pilots usually have to manually input weather data before takeoff. However, weather forecasts along a flight route become outdated, especially on long-haul flights that are several hours long. Making the move to current, in-flight weather information with the FMS Datalink Service is the next step in flight management evolution.