Lufthansa and Honeywell satellite connectivity approved for Chinese aircraft


Chinese regulators have approved the Honeywell Jetwave satellite communications systems integrated by Lufthansa Technik for installation on Airbus A320 aircraft.

The Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) in China for the inflight connectivity solution on Airbus A320 family aircraft was validated by the Chinese authority CAAC (Civil Aviation Authority of China), according to the China-EU Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) between China and the EU.

Chinese operators can thus make easy use of this satellite communication system with high-speed broadband Ka-band connectivity enabled in close cooperation with Honeywell. The EASA STC for internet on board has so far been installed on more than 300 A320 ceo and neo aircraft.

The BASA EU-China agreement allows for initial and sub-sequent validations in a defined process and ensures further validation mechanisms, additionally accelerating the execution of small adjustments for new customers.

Lukas Bucher, head of connectivity solutions at Lufthansa Technik said, “This represents a milestone in the cooperation of CAAC and EASA in the field of commercial aviation connectivity, made possible by the China-EU Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA). Based on a very light design and more than 300 installations, we can support very fast upgrades in less than 4 days and high maintenance inspection intervals; together we are offering very low and competitive operational costs to the airlines.

Jia Zhijun, senior director of Honeywell Connected Aerospace Asia Pacific said, “The MCS-8420 JetWave Satellite Communications System is designed to connect to China’s Ka-band satellite network.

“This satellite communications installation enables high-speed cabin Wi-Fi for a better passenger connectivity experience. Additionally, it provides pilots with a better internet connection to support flight planning and management, which will help reduce fleet fuel costs, avoid aircraft delays and further enhance airlines’ competitiveness and profitability in the global aviation market.

“Honeywell is currently advancing the certificate of MCS-8420 JetWave Satellite Communication Systems applicable to other aircraft models.”

The modular radome installation on the aircraft fuselage is ARINC 791 standard compliant and was optimized by Lufthansa Technik to minimize operational and maintenance costs for the airline. The installation is engineered, fully qualified and certified to meet the harsh conditions of continuous commercial airline operation. This includes, for example, optimized aircraft inspection cycles which are aligned with airframe specific base maintenance programs.

Co-operation with Honeywell

Based on the successful rollout of the JetWave Generation 1 hardware, Honeywell and Lufthansa Technik worked hand in hand to generate a solution for the Chinese market. The joint package includes China-specific adaptions of the Honeywell hardware and Lufthansa Technik’s aircraft integration design and certification suitable for the Chinese market.

Various software platforms are available for the system, including the option for airline proprietary solutions so that the respective airline itself has full control. Aircraft specific material kits are available, including a large antenna radome.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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