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Collins Aerospace Targets Restoring Traveler Confidence

Issue 5 - 2020
Collins Aerospace Targets Restoring Traveler Confidence
Jay Little, Vice President Customer & Account Management, Turkey, Middle East and Africa, Collins Aerospace discusses how the company is partnering with airlines, airports, and regulatory authorities to turn ideas into reality, to regain customer confidence in airline travel once again. Following the Successful Collins Aerospace integration, with better than anticipated cost and revenue synergies, and new offerings that harness capabilities across the whole organization, being part of Raytheon Technologies presents exciting opportunities for Collins Aerospace and their customers. With combined talent, complementary technologies, and financial and operational strength, the company is actively engaged in innovation and providing best-in-class products and support.

Aviation Turkey: How would you best describe Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. today? Could you please provide some key facts about the company for our readers? 

Jay Little: Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defense industry. Created in 2018 by bringing together UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins, Collins Aerospace has the capabilities, comprehensive portfolio and expertise to solve customers` toughest challenges and to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global market.

Today, we hold key positions – avionics to landing gear, nacelles to cabin seating, fuel systems to connectivity and much more – on nearly every aircraft flying today and substantial content on various UAVs, satellites and ground and maritime vehicles. About 60 million messages travel across our secure global air and ground network every day, enhancing communication, efficiency and safety for airlines, pilots, flight crew and more. Our communications systems transmit nearly 70 percent of U.S. and allied military airborne communication. And our pioneering innovations – from space suits to GPS, Wi-fi to synthetic vision, propellers to propulsion – have helped define our industry and the greater world for generations.

Collins employs more than 78,000 people in nearly 300 locations worldwide and generates annual sales of ~ $26 billion (2019 pro-forma).

Our portfolio of product and services includes aerostructures, mechanical systems, interior systems, avionics, mission systems and power and controls systems, as well as aftermarket services.

Aviation Turkey: On April 3, 2020 Raytheon Technologies Corporation announced the successful completion of the all-stock merger of equal transactions between Raytheon Company and United Technologies Corporation. After this merger Collins Aerospace Systems, which specializes in aerostructures, avionics, interiors, mechanical systems, mission systems and power controls that serve customers across the commercial, regional, business aviation and military sectors, has become one of Raytheon Technologies Corp.’s four market-leading segments focused on high-priority areas for customers. Can you elaborate on the effects/impacts and benefits of this merger from Collins Aerospace’s point of view?

Jay Little: Raytheon Company and United Technologies Corporation’s aerospace businesses have combined to form Raytheon Technologies, a global aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. 

Raytheon Technologies comprises four industry-leading businesses – Collins Aerospace Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, and Raytheon Missiles & Defense. Its 195,000 employees around the world enable the company to deliver advanced solutions that meet the ever-changing demands of air travel, global safety and security, and preparedness. 

Being part of Raytheon Technologies presents exciting opportunities for Collins Aerospace and our customers. Our combined talent, complementary technologies, and financial and operational strength as one company further enables us to innovate and provide best-in-class products and support. 

Aviation Turkey: Could you give us an overview of Collins Aerospace’s 2019 results and could you elaborate on your targets for 2020?

Jay Little: 2019 was a tremendous success for the Collins Aerospace integration, with better than anticipated cost and revenue synergies, and new offerings that harness capabilities across the whole organization. Our broad product portfolio knowledge and expanded capabilities enables us to think differently when we develop solutions for our customers. Our focus was to design and integrate new solutions that bring operational efficiencies and reduced costs to the airlines. 

We were proudly redefining aerospace. But it was before the COVID-19 crisis…. 

Now looking ahead, we have a new mission with one bold objective: restoring customer confidence in flying. 

Collins is prepared to lead the way when it comes to revolutionizing the entire passenger experience – from the moment a passenger arrives at the airport – to when they land and pick up their bags. We’re pulling together the capabilities and innovative work we do across Collins to make this happen. And we’re partnering with airlines, airports and regulatory authorities to turn our ideas into reality and to do it quickly.

We’ll continue to build on all our capabilities. We have the right people, the right solutions and the right mindset to meet these challenges head-on to earn the trust of our customers.

Aviation Turkey: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused radical changes in business as well as in our daily lives. Could you inform our readers on the measures you have adopted to minimize the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business activities and what are implementations and activities are ongoing at the time?

Jay Little: The Aerospace industry is indeed facing unprecedented business conditions due to the impact of COVID-19. As a global company, we are actively monitoring the progression of the Covid-19 virus. The health and wellbeing of our employees, and their families, remains our top priority. We have aggressively instituted numerous precautionary health and safety measures for our workforce. This includes travel restrictions, self-quarantine procedures, employee social distancing, remote and flexible work schedules, enhanced paid leave, and continuous and comprehensive deep cleaning and disinfecting of our manufacturing facilities and offices.

Current business conditions require also Collins Aerospace to review its business plans and implement measures to control costs.

Aviation Turkey: Collins Aerospace has a strong global presence, with operations at over 300 sites worldwide. Have there been any setbacks or delays in the projects and activities that are executed at your companies and offices abroad due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

Jay Little: Early on, our biggest concern was—and still is—addressing the impact to our employees, especially when it comes to their health and well-being. Half of our employees are working in our sites around the world and we’re committed to ensuring they are working in a safe environment. Additionally, almost half of our workforce is working from home, which we enabled by increasing network bandwidth and giving our teams the resources, they need to stay connected in a remote environment.

Right now, our focus is understanding what to expect in terms of recovery. We have teams across our organization focused on this right now. We know the aviation industry is going to look very different when this health crisis is contained—and we will continue to stay in constant contact with our customers to make sure we are providing them with the solutions and guidance they need in order to get our industry back on its feet.

Aviation Turkey: Are there any changes in Collins Aerospace’s operational plans for 2020 due to this unprecedented pandemic? Considering that potential markets/customers are also affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, will the Company be updating turnover and export targets/figures set for 2020?

Jay Little: The short answer is ‘yes.’ Approximately 75% of our business is tied to commercial aviation, which as we all know has been severely impacted. Going into 2020, I don’t think anyone envisioned the challenges we’re experiencing right now, so we’ve had to quickly adapt. This means realigning our business with the level of business we’re seeing from our customers, as well as looking at what we can do as a company to help restore confidence in air travel so we can help get the economy going again.

Aviation Turkey: What are the major programs, both domestic and international, that Collins Aerospace is currently involved in civil/commercial aviation?

Jay Little: Our main focus after this unprecedented crisis is to restore customer confidence in flying. We’ve established a cross-functional task force within Collins Aerospace to look at what we can do to get people more confident about returning to flight. We’re spending a lot of time talking to our customers and industry partners about what it’s going to take to make this happen. We’re looking at ideas on the aircraft such as air handling, touchless lavatories and sanitizing. But first, one of the areas where we can make an immediate impact – is actually off the aircraft. It’s creating a truly touchless airport experience.

Aviation Turkey: The COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide travel restrictions and flight bans, which are likely to continue for some time, and led to catastrophic losses in commercial aviation. According to research by the end of April 2020, commercial flights worldwide had decreased around 75% compared with the same period the previous year. Can you elaborate on Collins Aerospace’s role that you can or are already playing in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of commercial aviation?

Jay Little: The airport and airline industries have never dealt with a situation quite like the one we are seeing today. Not only are people currently not encouraged to travel, but it’s estimated that many people will choose not to travel once things are reopened for fear of getting sick.

With once normal actions - such as shaking hands, having another person handle your documents, or touching items in high traffic areas - now deemed as “risky,” passengers will be looking at companies to provide options for a “contactless” airport experience.

Today, we work closely with airports and airlines to develop cost-effective, and time-saving technologies that facilitate nearly every aspect of the customer journey through the airport. 

In a post-COVID 19 world, where social distancing and increased sanitation measures are crucial, Collins Aerospace is working with customers to implement near and long-term solutions that will keep passengers, airline and airport personnel well and help the industry recover while maintaining an efficient and secure passenger processing flow. 

Aviation Turkey: Starting from June domestic flights and some of international flights have resumed however passengers are reluctant to use airplanes in their travel.  It is clear that passenger confidence needs to be restored before we’ll see an increase the use of airplanes in travel, this is essential in accelerating the recovery of the commercial aviation sector. Creating a contactless journey is a key factor. Can you elaborate Collins Aerospace’s solutions and existing technology that assure a contactless journey in civil/commercial flights?

Jay Little: Across the entire Collins organization, we already have many systems in place that help enable social distancing, aircraft and airport environments and reduce interaction through touch like self service solutions for check-in, baggage processing and baggage drops, security checkpoints, lounge access, self-boarding gates 

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