The commercial aviation sector, prior to the global pandemic, showed remarkable growth in the UAE and was a significant economic driver in the region. Customers relied on Collins Aerospace and its heritage companies to provide aircraft sensors, flight connectivity solutions, repair and maintenance services and a range of products such as seats, cabin lighting and galley inserts, to equip the interior of commercial aircraft. In addition, Pratt & Whitney, another Raytheon Technologies business, has been a longtime manufacturer and supplier of aircraft engines for commercial and military fleets in the region.
While both businesses remain committed to these core offerings, each is driving innovation to help customers solve challenges amplified by the pandemic.
To aid in the industry’s recovery, airlines, airports and aviation companies are investing in new technologies to enhance the safety and health of passengers. Implementing touchless and mobile technologies will create a contactless passenger journey from entry to boarding and departure, which in turn will boost passenger confidence.
“Digital solutions that can improve airport and aircraft operations across the ecosystem are a key area of focus for us,” said Kamel, pointing to Collins’ ongoing initiative to redefine air travel. “Whether that’s related to touchless check-in or biometrics technologies like the systems in place at Dubai International Airport, or advancements in the communications and connectivity of aircraft, our goal is to offer a more consistent, seamless travel experience both on and off the aircraft.”
With an eye on the industry’s recovery, Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney are also focused on supporting the sustainability goals for the sector.
“We are very proud of our current footprint in the region, which includes more than 1500 engines in service with airlines, charter operators, security and defense contractors and proud pilot/owners,” said Irene Makris, vice president of the global sales and marketing organization for Pratt & Whitney Canada, which produces engines for aircraft common in the region. “Pratt & Whitney also powers aircraft for more than half a dozen military customers in the region on four key tactical and mobility platforms.”
The business will continue to support large airlines with large fleets by providing sustainable products that help the region meet its goals. The UAE has set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming the first nation in the Middle East and North Africa region to do so. The sustainability effort has in part driven demand for regional turboprops, regional jets and commercial aircraft, Makris said.
Pratt & Whitney, which powers the A320neo family of aircraft, has made significant strides in helping the region achieve its sustainability goals. The GTF engine produces 16% better fuel efficiency, 50% less regulated emissions and a 75% smaller noise footprint. And regional turboprops are already 25% to 40% more fuel efficient than similar jet-powered aircraft. In addition, all Pratt & Whitney engines are currently compatible with a 50% sustainable aviation fuel blend, and the company is working on a validation program to analyze and test its engines for SAF compatibility at blends up to 100%.
“We are also helping our customers comply with sustainability efforts through Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Carbon Offset Service, designed to improve the fuel burn of our existing portfolio,” Makris said. “Pratt & Whitney Canada was the first engine OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to offer this program, designed to help even smaller aviation companies compensate for their carbon footprint.”
Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney recently joined other aviation companies in support of the Air Transport Action Group’s commitment to eliminate carbon emissions entirely. Both are actively pursuing alternative power sources for aircraft, including more electric and hybrid-electric flight.