Connectivity in the aircraft

  • Mike McGuire  |
  • 2015-11-16

Many of us have had the opportunity to travel by air, either on business or perhaps on personal vacations. The airline industry continues to evolve, and over the last few years there have been some significant changes in the passenger experience. And it is not just that the seats are getting smaller and the planes are getting fuller.

Just a few years ago, "Wi-Fi" on the plane was new and fascinating, and now it is expected.  Access to movies and television shows is becoming increasingly available, and on some airlines, it is now the "norm".  Did you know that there is a word for this? Airlines call it "connectivity". But this is more than just Wi-Fi and movies, and Celestica is at the forefront – helping to enable aerospace connectivity.

In the cockpit, connectivity can facilitate access to better sources of information for weather tracking, including other aircraft in flight. Also, with systems monitoring the “health” of the plane and sensors throughout the aircraft providing information to the cockpit in real-time, the pilot can make adjustments as needed. If necessary, the pilot can notify the ground crew in advance that maintenance will need to be performed upon arrival. Predictive service analysis is also enabled through connectivity. Systems on the plane can anticipate and notify when something will require maintenance down the road. This allows the airline to make the necessary arrangements to ensure no disruption to flight schedules.

This increase in connectivity is driving more electronics into the aircraft and yielding additional benefits, including improved aircraft communications and network bandwidth as well as reduced weight of the plane, as some of the heavier mechanical equipment is replaced with lighter electrical parts.  
However, as electronics become more integral to the airplane, the underlying technologies of the “e-enabled aircraft” must be designed, manufactured and tested with reliability, safety and security in mind. Aerospace companies need to be prepared for this. They need to surround themselves with organizations that can help them overcome the associated challenges – ensuring they have the right global supply chain in place to support their aircraft, now and in the future.

In a recently published Globe and Mail aerospace feature, produced in cooperation with the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, Brad Jackson and I discuss some of the things that Celestica is doing to support e-enabled flight.

Access the aerospace feature in the Globe and Mail.

Mike McGuire
Aerospace and Defense Market Segment