SITA selected for pilot data links to EUROCONTROL

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 December 2004




Smart, K. (2004), "SITA selected for pilot data links to EUROCONTROL", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 76 No. 6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

SITA selected for pilot data links to EUROCONTROL

SITA selected for pilot data links to EUROCONTROL

Keywords: Aircraft, Air traffic control

Hapag-Lloyd and Air Europa have selected SITA Information Networking Computing (INC) to transport Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) between their aircraft and the European air traffic service providers. SITA will now provide Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) services to the vast majority (74) of the 100 aircraft taking part in the EUROCONTROL programme.

The transfer of routine pilot communications with Air Traffic Control (ATC) from VHF voice to CPDLC is key to increasing the number of aircraft that can fly through European airspace. The expected reduction in air traffic controller workload and increased ATC sector capacity will help cut ATC delays in some of the highest density airspace in the world.

Starting in November 2004, Hapag-Lloyd and Air Europa have equipped a total of 39 Boeing 737 aircraft using CPDLC/ATN avionics supplied by Honeywell and Rockwell Collins, respectively. The Hapag-Lloyd and Air Europa decisions follows on from the recent selection by both Lufthansa and FEDEX to use the SITA ATN/VDL service for the 35 Airbus aircraft they are equipping.

Mr José Guardiola, Operations Director, Air Europa, said “We selected SITA to provide our aircraft data link communications service because they demonstrated that they can meet all our airline communications needs and have deep knowledge of all the data link services defined for Air Traffic Control communications”.

“Hapag-Lloyd's and Air Europa's selection of SITA's ATN service, after intense competition, clearly demonstrates SITA's ability to cost- effectively implement the new aircraft communications services needed by EUROCONTROL. We are extremely pleased to have now been selected to provide ATN services to the majority of the aircraft using the CPDLC service, which will revolutionise air traffic control services in continental Europe”, commented George Cooper, Senior Vice-President, Airline Operations and AIRCOM Services, SITA Inc. Aircraft started exchanging CPDLC messages with EUROCONTROL's Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (UACC) from September 2004. Major Area Control Centres including those in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain are scheduled to introduce the CPDLC application from 2006/2007. Hapag-Lloyd, a long time customer of SITA, has been using the Datalink service for more than 10 years.

Aircraft being equipped for CPDLC communications with EUROCONTROL will use the data link network service based on the new ICAO standard Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) and VHF Digital Link (ATN/ VDL) Mode 2 protocols to benefit from improvements in message integrity and latency compared to the current ACARS data link service.

EUROCONTROL provided financial and technical assistance to the first 100 “pioneer aircraft” that commit to joining its Link2000+ Programme, which is overseeing the implementation of CPDLC across leading European air traffic service providers.

SITA will now be providing ATN service to at least 74 of the 100 aircraft benefiting from a EUROCONTROL contribution to their ATN upgrade.

The deployment of SITA Inc's VDL AIRCOM ground stations began in Western Europe in 2001. Today, the company's European VDL AIRCOM network includes over 35 VDL 2 operational sites at most major West European airports, providing complete airport and en-route coverage for the majority of Western European airspace. The SITA ATN service is provided by a router from Sofreavia who brings great expertise in ATN technology.

Ken SmartChief Inspector of Air Accidents United Kingdom

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