Safran tests a new business model in the Middle East
Safran unveiled its C-FOQA application for iPad at the latest Middle East Business Aviation trade show and exhibition in Dubai, MEBA 2010. According to Philippe Lemasson, VP Marketing & Sales in Sagem’s Avionics division, this marks a first step towards a new business model.
© Patricia Lecomte
What exactly does the C-FOQA application entail?
We are now integrating the C-FOQA(1) application in Apple’s iPad tablet, for distribution in the Middle East starting this year. Business aircraft pilots with this application will enjoy three major services: they can access flight data; display a video simulation with adjustable zoom feature; and also receive a complete map of their flight path. For instance, a pilot will be able to justify higher fuel consumption than planned, by showing that the control tower asked him to circle the airport a few times before being able to land. Pilots can also ask one of our staff members for a more detailed analysis of their flight, or receive periodic reports summarizing the different aspects of their flights.
Why do you say that this application represents a new business model?
With C-FOQA, we’re really taking the plunge into a service-based model, since the data sent to our servers is analyzed then sent back to the customer. This will enable us to spotlight the Group’s broad range of expertise in this area, while also gathering a large amount of data. The iPad application will eventually provide access to a “Safran portal”, where our customers can access services provided by our different centers of expertise, spanning engines, systems and equipment, which will use the same medium to provide MRO services, and enhance operational efficiency and flight safety.
Why are you targeting the Middle East for this new service?
For several reasons, starting with the fact that FOQA legislation will apply to business aviation starting at the end of this year, giving us an opportunity to launch a new generation of very high-value-added services. Secondly, we analyzed the different regions where we do business, singling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific zones. We were looking for areas with very responsive customers, a high concentration of bizjets, an aptitude for advanced technologies and the resources to meet ambitious goals. Because we are located closer to the Middle East, a major factor in any new product launch, we chose this region.
What difficulties have you had to overcome?
The main problem was the market’s lack of preparation for this new regulation. Because of the diverse fleets in operation, we had to adapt our data acquisition systems to each type of aircraft. Another critical point we had to resolve was to ensure the security of data transmissions via 3G networks. We also have to take a very proactive stance to meet our commitments to customers: for instance, we guarantee the replacement of an iPad within 48 hours! Furthermore, this booming market is attracting a number of major players, and it’s very important that we maintain our leadership by meeting the announced deadline for bringing our product to market.
 Corporate Flight Operations Quality Assurance. For the moment, FOQA regulations, designed to ensure flight safety, only apply to commercial aviation. Sagem is a world leader in this market, through its AGS (Analysis Ground Station) software suite.Top of page
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