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Bombardier and GE Aviation announced on Oct. 22 a new partnership that aims to redefine how business aircraft are supported.
During a press conference at NBAA-BACE 2019, Bombardier said it has selected GE as a preferred service partner to deliver cockpit and cabin connectivity solutions to owners and operators of Bombardier Global and Challenger aircraft.
Over the past few months, the two companies have been working to define a program that Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Bombardier’s vice-president and general manager, Customer Experience, said will “bring in-service support for connectivity issues to a whole new level.”
Effective immediately, GE will power Bombardier’s cockpit and cabin connectivity solutions – including new, curated service bundles that will simplify the selection of cockpit and cabin services.
Bombardier said the agreement is a first step toward its Smart Link Plus connected aircraft program, scheduled to launch in the second half of 2020. By providing fleet-wide data, Smart Link Plus will help customers make educated operational and maintenance decisions.
In addition, Bombardier announced that GE’s Smark Link Plus box – a health monitoring unit that generates key data that is sent back to Bombardier and can help increase operational efficiency and minimize down time – will be provided free of charge with every new Challenger and Global business jet sold as well as a retrofit option to those already in service.
“I’m pleased to say that today, the Global 7500s we are delivering come equipped with that type of technology already,” said Gallagher. “By offering it free of charge as a retrofit to the entire Challenger and Global fleet of aircraft, we will leverage the power of having a fully connected fleet and can provide insights to individual operators.”
He added that while GE has done this in commercial aviation, it has historically been more difficult with business aviation due to smaller fleet sizes.
“This is where Bombardier decided to step in and bring big data to business aviation. Our focus groups over the last two years with customers tell us that customers trust Bombardier to be the custodian of their data.”
Andrew Coleman, senior VP, Digital Solutions at GE Aviation, said all collected data will be owned by customers and protected by seven layers of security.
He compared previous fleet monitoring technology and the Smart Link Plus box by drawing an analogy to a Polaroid photo and a high definition movie. Someday, he believes the collected data will help to make AOGs (aircraft on ground delays) a thing of the past.
“We’ve tested the concept with many of your operators. There is a wealth of applications – it’s really exciting,” said Coleman.
Gallagher concluded by saying Bombardier’s overall vision is to bring the aircraft into the palm of an operator’s hand.
“We have to make this connected aircraft a very personal experience for our customers in business aviation,” he said. “We are inspired by what’s happening in the car industry, where we can interact with our machine using our personal devices
Bombardier said it will be announcing additional value-added services related to the Smart Link Plus box in the coming months. In the future, the program may be extended to the global Learjet fleet.