FlightAware, a flight data tracker with a growing social media presence, has attracted the attention of industry supply chain Tier 1 Collins Aerospace.  FlightAware notes: Collins recognizes the importance of the ADS-B ground station network and is committed to maintaining and expanding it. This acquisition opens up resources to deliver new hardware innovations, better open-source software solutions, and a variety of web and mobile improvements to benefit the flight tracking community.  

This move came as something of a surprise. Collins Aerospace is part of Raytheon Technologies. FlightAware will join Collins’ Information Management Services portfolio within the company’s Avionics strategic business unit. “Global connectivity now shapes and impacts every segment of aviation. FlightAware is the recognized leader in data collection, analytics and customer experience, which will help Collins unlock the full power of the connected ecosystem for our customers,” said Dave Nieuwsma, Collins Aerospace’s head of Avionics. “FlightAware’s flight tracking and data platform, the largest in the world, has the potential to deliver new capabilities and innovations across our entire business.” 

What is Collins acquiring? This is what FlightAware delivers: They are a leading provider of real-time and historical flight information and insights to the global aviation community. FlightAware serves all segments of the aviation marketplace through best-in-class applications and data services that provide comprehensive information about the current and predicted movement of aircraft. Through the collection, interpretation, and enrichment of hundreds of sources of data, including data from FlightAware’s own proprietary terrestrial ADS-B network with tens of thousands of receivers spanning seven continents in 200 countries and territories, FlightAware transforms millions of raw flight data elements and delivers them as coherent, easy-to-consume flight stories.

Collins is getting its hands on one of two global flight tracking services, the other one being FlightRadar24 in Sweden. Does this move put the latter in play? Probably, yes.

What is Collins’ Information Management Services? Start here. The move seems to ensure that Collins has access to another core data source that allows it to grow its airline customers’ dependence. The owner of the most data flow has the most influence and insight. That source becomes to “go-to” source. With its origins as ARINC,  Collins’ Information Management Services understands what airlines need by way of communications and data. In terms of the Raytheon combine, another flow of data enables the group to ensure airlines and even lessors are plug into a flow of operational information. The richer the data, the greater the value.  Even if the operator is not using a GTF, Raytheon will know a great deal about any airline and aircraft ops. 

Information is power.  Raytheon just added a neat information stream that will be folded into its flight ops data streaming and telemetry. Any lessor that does not tap into this information stream will not be tracking and managing assets optimally.  The same for goes an airline and even insurance companies. Meanwhile, every piece of hardware (for example) that Raytheon’s subsidiaries deliver will plug into this data stream.  This makes it even harder for aircraft OEMs to create and build anything that is not dependent on Raytheon in some form or other.  The supply chain continues to consolidate.

Meanwhile, the value of FlightRadar24 just popped. The question isn’t if, but who and at what price?

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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