Flying Around the World, Yet “Deeply Rooted” in the Chinese Aviation Industry - Part II

March 22, 2016

Interview with Briand Greer

HU Tao, China Highlights, Xinhua News Agency

Flying Around the World, Yet “Deeply Rooted” in the Chinese Aviation Industry - Part I

As we bid a farewell to our fifth year spent in China, Mr. Briand Greer, President for Honeywell Aerospace Asia-Pacific, had this to say, “We see China as having ‘community of common destiny’. Being deeply grounded in China, we are fortunate to witness this historical moment and more dreams of flight.”

Briand GreerDeeply rooted in China and growing together with the Chinese aviation industry

When arriving at this huge aviation market in the world’s spotlight, Mr. Greer, on behalf of Honeywell Aerospace, said that he was lucky to be in China witnessing the vision and promise made by a great nation for its aviation development. He is also experiencing the localization of an international aviation giant in China. With deep roots in the Chinese aviation development, mutual benefits are realized between each other along with their growth.

“China wishes to research and manufacture large homegrown aircrafts, which we believe is a serious decision. Honeywell is very fortunate in noticing the potential and resolution of China to develop its aviation industry, as well as considering ‘China Strategies’ to be the most important”, he said.

Briand GreerIn early 2007, Honeywell Aerospace (headquartered in America) decided to relocate its Asian headquarters to Shanghai. In the following year, COMAC was established in Shanghai.

“We remained positive about China’s economy, especially the fast-growing aviation industry in the long run. It was very fortunate that we took the initiative. We established collaboration in good faith with COMAC on a series of important projects, including the ARJ-21 and the C919,” he commented.

The C919 aircraft is a large commercial passenger jet that is indigenously designed and manufactured in China. It features “more economical, more comfortable, more eco-friendly, yet safer” functions. Currently, the order amounts to 500 units.

Founded in 2008, COMAC explored and devised such development model as “Lead Manufacturer-Suppliers” to amass and utilize domestic and overseas advantageous resources to the greatest extent. Over 200 Chinese enterprises participated in research and manufacturing processes, and 16 transnational companies were designated as the suppliers of airborne systems. Amongst these companies, Honeywell provided this large aircraft with four major systems and components, namely, flight control systems, wheels and brakes system, auxiliary power units, and navigation systems.

Briand GreerHoneywell provides COMAC with engineering technologies and training support to enhance the safety, reliability, and operation efficiency of the C919, while supporting its long-term commitment to improving the global competitive edge of the Chinese aviation industry through its own actual actions. This means more investments in the Chinese aviation industry and enhancement of local engineering and technological capacities. Looking to the future, Honeywell also established two joint ventures with COMAC, and fostering over 500 local engineers.

Meanwhile, the regional headquarters of Honeywell Aerospace in Asia is also becoming “localized”. In 2012, nearly a dozen of those in senior management were foreigners. As of 2015, only three foreigners remain, while the majority of those in senior management are homegrown members.

“Both of us share the same vision in corporate social responsibility, whereby providing advanced learning resources and technologies to schools in rural areas in West China, and supporting China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative as well as Honeywell Hometown Solutions,” said Mr. Greer. In 2015, Honeywell, who is deeply rooted in China for its business operations, reaped a great harvest in terms of business and social responsibilities.

Opportunities in China with international experience

“Honeywell considers China as a strategic market, while valuing homegrown aviation enterprises in China as strategic partners. In addition to our appreciation of cooperation with China, we are willing to share with the Chinese aviation industry our experience in the aviation and aerospace field over the past a hundred years,” Mr. Greer said. While participating in the growth of the Chinese aviation industry, we are happy to share opportunities not just as a supplier, but also as a partner.

Briand GreerOver the last decade of development in the aviation industry, China’s experience mainly focuses on the military aviation field. However, the expectation on such commercial aircraft projects as the C919 (as a large passenger jet) and ARJ21 (as the regional airliner) is not only the technical success but also the business success in domestic and overseas markets. Therefore, for the Chinese aviation industry, commercial aircraft projects represent special significance while their research and manufacture is based on international airworthiness standards.

He believes that Honeywell Aerospace is willing to share its centennial experience in the aviation and aerospace field with the Chinese aviation industry. In addition to providing important components, it wishes to join hands with Chinese enterprises for growth by training Chinese aviation talents and sharing such important experiences as airworthiness.

“During cooperation, we are more than a partner in business. We are more willing to take the responsibility in training them with international experience and development, and sharing our experience. In the future, we are also willing to embrace new challenges in the international market along with our counterparts in the Chinese aviation industry,” he said.

Mr. Greer has over two decades of experience in aviation and aerospace. Like he said, he has lived in Japan, Turkey, France, and other countries, for his father is a pilot and “it was almost as though he had no choice but to visit the entire world along with the field of aviation”.

Later on, his life closely followed the pulse of the global aviation industry. Prior to joining Honeywell, he was the co-founder and CEO of the Aviation Hardware Exchange (AHX). AHX is the first exchange platform for aviation and aerospace products in the world. Upon joining Honeywell, he was a leader in both commercial and defense businesses.

“When following Honeywell to China, I remain deeply rooted in China, while respecting Chinese time, Chinese speed, and Chinese culture with investments in time and resources. In addition, I tap into the opportunities of growing together with the second largest economy in the world,” said Mr. Greer. This is certainly a great and fortunate choice.


Hu Tao

Hu Tao is a journalist who is passionate about the aerospace industry. Both on the job and on her own time, she’s happiest telling the stories of men and women whose aviation innovations promote technology and improve our world. She is a writer in the China features section of the Xinhua News Agency, the national news agency of China. Working on the bilingual news report for the overseas department, she covers aviation, climate and the environment. Her China Aviation News column, “Hu Tao’s View on Aviation,” appears in the print edition and on the Web portal. Her new WeChat account, “Huhu’s Time Machine,” expands her reach to social media.

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