Inmarsat and Airservices partner on SatVoice comms

Friday, 09 March, 2018

Inmarsat and Airservices partner on SatVoice comms

In an effort to improve aviation efficiency and safety, Inmarsat and Airservices Australia have partnered up on satellite voice (SatVoice) communications.

Specifically, the focus will be on evaluations for air traffic services in Australia in areas beyond the reach of traditional VHF voice coverage.

Through the partnership with Inmarsat, Airservices Australia will help airlines and operators to complement conventional voice communications equipment with modern digital technology.

The evaluation is working towards two important customer benefits: more effective and ultimately safer aviation safety services over the oceans and remote areas, and lower weight for avionics, contributing towards reduced fuel burn and greenhouse emissions.

SatVoice communications is a two-way channel, satellite-based service that enhances accuracy in cockpit communications and therefore aircraft safety. The system enables faster and better quality voice communications between flight deck crew and designated contacts on the ground, including air traffic controllers and airline operations personnel.

Currently, cockpit communications involves the aircraft calling a ground station, which then connects the flight deck crew to an air traffic control facility, in what is known as ‘two-stage dialling’. SatVoice communications will streamline this process, speeding up contact between air traffic control and the aircraft.

The evaluation will take place over the next few months, with the ultimate objective being direct controller-to-pilot communications (DCPC). Enhanced voice communications will support long-term efficiency and safety improvements that require these direct communications.

As part of its SB-S platform, which delivers high-speed IP connectivity to the flight deck, Inmarsat will offer upgraded SatVoice services that will be unparalleled in speed and quality.

SITAONAIR, which currently provides datalink services to Airservices Australia, has a key role as the communications service provider, providing the connectivity infrastructure for these evaluations. Virgin Australia is also participating as the airline partner for the evaluation, demonstrating Inmarsat SatVoice on four of its B737 aircraft.

“This is an important evaluation for our industry and for Airservices Australia, as we continue our program of delivering customer benefits through better technology,” said Airservices Australia, Executive General Manager, Air Navigation Services Stephen Angus.

Inmarsat Aviation Vice President of Safety and Operational Services Captain Mary McMillan said, “Satellite communication systems have saved the world’s airlines US$3bn in the past 15 years. We look forward to providing additional benefits deploying satellite communications in applications like this.”

Image credit: © Gordeev

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