There was a lot of interesting news this week, but lets start out with our rectangle story on SITAONAIR and their FlightTracker.

SITAONAIR

ICAO recommendations calling for airlines to report flight positions every 15 minutes became official on Thursday 8 November 2018  – and SITAONAIR is helping multiple airlines around the world meet them, thanks to its cutting-edge AIRCOM FlightTracker.

Major airlines including Avianca BrasilAzulNorwegian Air ShuttleSingapore Airlines and Vistara, already use AIRCOM FlightTracker, across more than 250,000 flights a month. In delivering flight precision, enhanced awareness and reinforced safety, FlightTracker enables airlines to unlock greater operational effectiveness in an increasingly congested airspace, to minimize costs and support passenger satisfaction. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) recommendations compel airlines to commit to minimum standards of aircraft tracking, with the aim of improving safety, detection of aircraft in distress, and efficient and effective search and rescue. The ICAO urges operators to report aircraft positions at least once every 15 minutes as of Thursday 8 November 2018, and additional aircraft distress processes will be added from 2021.

SITAONAIR has led the way in preparing airlines for this major milestone in aviation safety. Its ground-based, easy-to-implement AIRCOM FlightTracker software system guarantees regular flight position updates, without requiring any new avionics or modifications to aircraft.

Gathering data from multiple global sources – including FlightAware’s Firehose data feed – it bridges gaps between air navigation services provider tracking, to offer 100% global flight tracking with position updates at least once-per-minute. The FlightAware feed delivers live aircraft position data from its terrestrial network of ADS-B receivers, as well as from Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network, which, hosted on the Iridium NEXT constellation, is now providing live flight tracking.

In incorporating this space-based ADS-B data, SITAONAIR’s enhanced FlightTracker gives airlines the tools to receive the precise position, speed and altitude of their airborne fleet anywhere in the world – even over oceans and polar regions. They are also able to exceed the ICAO 15-minute recommendation, in readiness for 2021’s anticipated one-minute recommendation.

Discover SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker by exploring our whitepaper, webinar and videos online.


ZODIAC

Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii) appointed Benjamin Asmar as VP IFE Products and Strategy.  In this role, Asmar will lead Zii’s product group to further develop and deploy innovative products and services for its RAVE inflight entertainment system. Ben joins Zii from Virgin Australia Airlines where he held positions leading the product development and customer experience for the airline. Most recently he led a team of 20 product and project  professionals whose job it was to imagine and implement the ‘next big thing’ to blow customers’ minds, challenge the status quo and push the limits to develop truly unique Virgin experiences through the best products in the industry.We are looking forward to Ben bringing his airline perspective to our team, helping Zii to continue the RAVE tradition of bringing unprecedented product innovations to our market, says Larry Girard, Executive VP & Chief Commercial Officer. Ben exclaimed I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Zii team.  RAVE is a fantastic product and the team at Zii have really thought about what makes airline operations difficult and frustrates passengers when it comes to Infight entertainment and have gone about removing these pain points to give passengers a world class IFE experience whilst reducing operational overheads. I’m looking forward to working with the team to continue to drive innovation in Passenger Experience.


SITA

SITA, a specialist in air transport communications and IT solutions, announced the acquisition of private company MEXIA Interactive (“MEXIA”), a global provider of curb-to-gate passenger analytics for the air transport industry. The company, founded in 2011, is based in Winnipeg, Canada. The acquisition will enhance SITA’s existing airport operations and passenger flow management solutions. Customers will benefit from a comprehensive and predictive view of passenger flow information that will result in greater operational efficiencies and improved services. MEXIA’s technology identifies and predicts bottlenecks in various queues such as check-in, security and taxi lines while monitoring the amount of time passengers spend in airports. The company also helps airports find non-aeronautical revenue potential by providing shopper numbers, conversion rates, and trends through insights on passengers dwelling in the airport. MEXIA currently works with some of the largest and most influential airports around the world.


digEcor

The digEcor and Jamco Aero Design and Engineering (JADE) partnership was announced at the FTE Asia Expo in Singapore. JADE’s structural, electrical and systems engineering design expertise will play a major role in retrofitting aircraft with digEcor’s Cabin Technology products in the Asia Pacific region. digEcor Chief Executive, David Withers, said that he was pleased to have modification expert JADE on board as a key partner. “JADE is a strong player in the Asia Pacific region and has years of Airbus and Boeing aircraft cabin modification and engineering services experience.”


SPAFAX

Spafax, a leading provider of media, entertainment and content marketing services to the airline industry, announced that it has been selected by Air China to exclusively license and curate its Hollywood movie selection, as well as working together on all other video content. The parties formalized this partnership by signing the letter of intent at the inaugural China International Import Expo held in Shanghai. Spafax also announced the opening of a new office and team in Beijing that will serve in support of Air China. The WPP Group through its Tenthavenue and Kinetic subsidiaries have built up a strong multi-year working relationship with Air China, and have been invaluable in assisting Spafax to quickly establish a local presence.


SATCOM DIRECT

Following on from the SD Xperience launch at NBAA, Satcom Direct is taking its Gulfstream GIV on a circumnavigation of the globe to showcase the power of the new connectivity offering to the international business aviation community. A team of SD executives, including Chief Operating Officer Chris Moore, will spend just under ten days flying the aircraft into leading business aviation destinations to demonstrate the full SD Xperience in-situ, in-cabin.Long term SD customers will be invited to witness the power of SD Xperience first hand. The fully-synchronized, end-to-end connectivity solution combines the full suite of SD cabin and cockpit communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware, and flight operations software to deliver consistent connectivity around the world. Adding extra power to the portfolio is the newly introduced FlexExec broadband service, for which SD is the Master Distributor, delivered in partnership with Intelsat (NYSE: I) and Astronics AeroSat. Business aviation’s first dedicated connectivity service will join existing service providers in the SD portfolio to ensure SD customers benefit from customized, seamless, synchronized,  consistent on-demand global connectivity. SD Xperience customers also benefit from SD ground infrastructure as the SD Data Center enables the application of existing compliance and security protocols for aircraft networks to mitigate cyber-attack and maintain data integrity.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation’s latest connectivity solution for light jets – Gogo AVANCE L3 – has been selected by Airshare for installation across its entire fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft. Airshare operates 11 Phenom 100 aircraft in its fleet, and is recognized as one of the most cost-effective fractional aircraft providers in private aviation for business and leisure travelers. The company also features Embraer Phenom 300s within its fleet, many of which are equipped with Gogo’s connectivity systems onboard. Airshare has also committed to installing AVANCE L5 on all new Phenom 300 aircraft it adds to the fleet in the future.


OTHER NEWS

October 9, 2017–Avianca Brasil (OceanAir) is “proud” to have activated industry best-practice flight-tracking with SITAONAIR, as the airline prepares to expand its operations.

SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker is now airline-operational on the domestic carrier’s current fleet of 49 A320 and four A330 aircraft. This puts Avianca Brazil well ahead of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) 2018 safety mandate, compelling operators to state their aircraft flight positions at least once every 15 minutes.

The airline has also deployed SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightMessenger on its fleet, helping improve efficiency by translating operational data into a format that seamlessly integrates into the airline’s IT infrastructure.

Frederico Pedreira, Chief Executive Officer of Avianca Brasil, said: “Deploying this industry benchmark flight-tracker has been a priority for us, and we are very happy with the results. Having the proper technology from SITAONAIR to track our fleet, comply with the ICAO’s recommendation, and further our commitment to passenger safety, is an achievement we are proud of.

“As we begin the exciting path to expanding beyond domestic routes to offer international flights across the Americas, we do so equipped with an impressive technology that will seamlessly support the management of our growing airborne fleet.”

Carlos Vianna, SITAONAIR’s Head of Business Development, Latin America, said: “Avianca Brasil joins a select group of airlines in South America today to have activated flight-tracking technologies, reinforcing their passenger safety commitments.

“SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker comes straight from aviation’s digital experts, providing automated alerting and gathering data from multiple global sources, filling in any gaps between air navigation services provider tracking. Our FlightTracker will ensure that Avianca Brasil has the intelligent innovation it needs to effortlessly support the comprehensive management of the fleet as the airline continues to expand.”

Discover SITAONAIR’s FlightTracker online at www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact, or submit an enquiry form online.

  • MOU recognises SwiftBroadband-Safety’s market leading position and potential to increase airline profitability, capacity and safety through digital cockpit solutions

United Kingdom | October 19, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to appoint SITAONAIR as a distribution partner for its next generation SwiftBroadband-Safety aviation service.

A pre-agreement between the two companies has outlined the intention for SITAONAIR to supply commercial airlines and business aviation operators with SwiftBroadband-Safety, an advanced new service from Inmarsat that will transform cockpit and aircraft operations.

SwiftBroadband-Safety represents a paradigm shift in the advancement of aviation safety services by utilising secure IP-based broadband connectivity that far exceeds the capabilities of other alternatives in the market. The ‘always on and always secure’ solution enables a range of breakthrough aviation applications, including flight data streaming (‘Black Box in the Cloud’) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag applications, such as networked graphical weather.

It also enables air traffic management modernisation programmes throughout the world and fulfils the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS), including flight tracking, by offering reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS).

SwiftBroadband-Safety hardware is available for initial retrofit installation on existing aircraft today and is scheduled to become a standard option on new aircraft deliveries from 2018. The service builds on Inmarsat’s reputation as a provider of high-quality voice and data service to 95% of the world’s trans-oceanic aircraft fleet.

Inmarsat’s MoU with SITAONAIR marks the latest expansion of a successful partnership between both companies. SITAONAIR is currently a major distributor of Inmarsat’s Classic Aero satellite communications service and will now be able to provide migration options for existing customers to SwiftBroadband-Safety. It also provides the global aviation industry with access to Inmarsat’s current in-flight broadband service, SwiftBroadband, and its next generation offering for commercial airlines (GX Aviation) and business aviation (JetConneX).

SwiftBroadband-Safety has received a lot of industry support that has reinforced its status as the flightdeck communications platform for the future, including its recent selection by Airbus for its A320 and A330 aircraft families, and successful ongoing trials by Hawaiian Airlines.

Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, said: “SITAONAIR has been a trusted partner of Inmarsat for over 25 years. Together we have been providing benefits for the wider airline industry, such as enhancing trans-oceanic flights, optimising routes and reducing fuel consumption. We plan to continue this progress in the future as the benefits of secure broadband are brought into the cockpit.

“The aircraft is now a fully connected node of the airline’s IT network. Inmarsat is the only global provider to offer both reliable, secure cockpit communications as well as the most advanced passenger connectivity, allowing our airline customers to customise data solutions.”
David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR, said: “SwiftBroadband-Safety is a transformational step for the industry and we are proud to include it in our service portfolio as a powerful enabler of SITAONAIR’s nose-to-tail connectivity solutions. Through our engagement with the airlines, SITAONAIR believes the industry is ready to embrace SwiftBroadband-Safety’s secure IP-based services to the cockpit. We are developing services and applications that will leverage this secure IP-based communications services platform to enhance both safety and operational efficiency.

“We aim to offer simple service packages that include generous data allowances to ensure that managing crew communication costs becomes much simpler and enable airlines to fully unleash the potential of next generation cockpit and air traffic control technology. These packages will also power global worldwide flight tracking at no additional connectivity cost. We are pleased to extend and expand our work with Inmarsat in delivering this new capability.”

United Kingdom and China | September 14, 2016: Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has signed an agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company (MCN) and Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) to provide aviation safety services to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and Operators.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was unveiled at ATC Global 2016, which is taking place in Beijing this week, and outlines MCN/ADCC’s intention to offer cockpit communication services, including Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and next generation SwiftBroadband-Safety services, in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Classic Aero is a high-quality voice and data safety service currently used by most of the world’s airlines. It offers reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS) that meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) global flight tracking requirements.

SwiftBroadband-Safety utilises secure IP-based broadband capabilities that far exceed those of other connectivity alternatives. It offers global, high speed, connectivity for cockpit and aircraft operations, with airlines benefitting from greater efficiency, reliability and capacity at a lower cost. The solution is always on and always secure, delivering next-generation applications, including flight data streaming (‘Black Box in the Cloud’) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag applications such as graphical weather.

Inmarsat’s partnership with MCN and ADCC is expected to be finalised later this year and fits with the announcement made earlier this year of plans for a MCN and Inmarsat joint venture to provide comprehensive aircraft cabin and connectivity solutions across the PRC.

Otto Gergye, Inmarsat Aviation’s Vice President of Airline Market Development, said: “Inmarsat is a trusted provider of aviation safety and operational services. More than 95% of the world’s oceanic aircraft currently use our services for communication, navigation and surveillance and we are set to achieve an important paradigm shift in cockpit communications with our advanced and highly-secure new SwiftBroadband-Safety service.

“We look forward to serving China’s aviation industry alongside MCN and ADCC. The country represents one of the largest growth markets in the world for aviation, with annual growth rates of more than 5% per year. Both in-service aircraft and passenger levels are expected to more than double in the next 20 years. Our partnerships with MCN and ADCC also reinforce Inmarsat’s commitment to supporting China’s One Belt One Road strategic vision.”

Song Zhen, Vice President of MCN, said: “MCN, ADCC and Inmarsat are strong leaders in their respective markets. This agreement is an important step in establishing a partnership that combines our individual strengths to provide China’s aviation industry with market-leading connectivity services for optimised cockpit and aircraft operations.”

Zhu Yanbo, Vice President of ADCC, said: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with MCN and Inmarsat. Together, we can support the growth and efficiency of China’s aviation industry by providing airlines with access to the best safety communications solutions in the market today, with the well-established Classic Aero service, and with the advanced next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety service.”

Connected Aircraft data visualization, monitoring and alerting for decision support and aircraft tracking

  • Integrates real-time Connected Aircraft information via high-speed satellite streaming
  • Merges aircraft-generated position data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
  • Configurable alerting to enhance situational awareness and track fleet-wide disruptions
  • Meets ICAO GADSS requirements through global multi-source flight tracking capabilities
    Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, and enables airlines’ digital transformation

Los Angeles, CA | July 29, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced the launch of Airview Opsconnect™, a cloud-based application that tracks and visualizes operations, identifies and alerts operational disruptions, and improves on-time performance through integrated web-based tools.

Built on GEE’s masFlight analytics and business intelligence platform, Airview Opsconnect fuses Connected Aircraft data streamed over satellite with ground-based surveillance, flight status and weather information to identify and manage high-value operational problems. The application displays aircraft position and tracks, identifies taxi-out delays (even at airports without terrestrial surface-surveillance) and alerts users to operational exceptions, disruptions and cancellations. Airline managers will be equipped with a do-it-yourself application that simplifies analytics, information querying, including competitive benchmarking, and automates performance reporting by airport, fleet and network worldwide. Together with masFlight, Airview Opsconnect enables ICAO GADSS compliance for aircraft tracking and reduces airline exposure to regulatory penalties while improving the safety of operations.

“Airview Opsconnect provides airline executives and front-line crewmembers industry-leading insights into real-time operational performance, showcasing GEE’s integrated Connected Aircraft capabilities and leadership,” said Bernard Asare, VP Connected Aircraft Systems. “The app unifies real-time, in-flight data with weather, flight information, and ground-based surveillance with a user-friendly interface to support mission-critical airline decisions and addresses regulatory flight tracking requirements.”

Airview Opsconnect is offered with GEE’s Airconnect Global in-flight connectivity system and can ingest data from both third-party and internal airline data platforms. For more information or to schedule a demonstration of the platform, contact opsconnect@geemedia.com.

The concept of real-time aircraft tracking has become a global issue over that past few years. Needless to say, aircraft position data has become a focus for ICAO and the airlines. Many hardware manufacturers are stepping up and generating solutions that utilize, in many cases, existing connectivity. Panasonic has one such a product and we thought our readers would find it interesting because it utilizes existing installed hardware.

IFExpress had the opportunity to have a Q&A with Jeff Rex, Director, Panasonic Avionics Corporation about the new non-transponder-based aircraft position tracking service on offer.

1.Please name and describe the ground and airborne products involved in the Panasonic’s tracking solution.

Our global tracking system is based on Panasonic’s Global Communications Services (GCS) and FlightLink™ satcom solutions. By adding the AirMap application to either of these satcom solutions airlines can meet the normal and abnormal tracking requirements proposed for the GADSS.

Both flight tracking solutions provide a non-transponder-based aircraft position report available even in extreme remote and oceanic areas of the globe, either over Ku or a dedicated Iridium satellite data link. Each aircraft is monitored in real-time through a web-based tracking tool, called AirMap.

2. There are 3 issues we see – location data acquisition, transmission of the data (satcom, we presume), and ground handling of the data. Can you outline each solution?

Aircraft position and identification data from either our FlightLink or GCS solution is sent to our ground based servers. AirMap is the graphical interface that provides a visual representation of the aircraft’s flight path, altitude, and location. It allows airlines to view and interact with this tracking data. It also generates alerts to support the GADSS requirements as well as satisfying other operational needs. The tracking interval is completely customizable to an airline’s requirements and is manually adjustable. When combined with the core satcom system, the application also offers support for voice and text messaging in the event that an airline’s ground operations want to communicate with the aircraft.

For existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users no additional on-board equipment is required to activate Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application into the airline operations center.

3. Which is the lowest cost solution?

We are letting customers know that if they have eXConnect or FlightLink, then they can have flight tracking for only an incremental fee.

4. The US FAA is working on this problem and has some recommendations. Does the Panasonic solution agree with their needs?

eXConnect and FlightLink both meet the ICAO’s GADSS concept of operations. The standards and recommended practices specifications for both normal and abnormal tracking are still in development, and Panasonic will adjust our products as needed once released.

5. What are other valuable uses for Panasonic’s solution(s)?

FlightLink is a complete end-to-end solution that includes multi-function atmospheric and GPS sensors, dedicated two-way satellite communication system and ground-based data management and quality assurance. It is compatible with all aircraft types and the communication architecture provides a two-way information exchange at any altitude, and even over the poles. In addition to flight tracking, FlightLink enables incredibly accurate and high-resolution weather forecasts, real-time icing reports, turbulence reports, and improved operational support for airlines through AOC communications to and from an aircraft.

eXConnect is our global Ku-band broadband connectivity service. It covers 99.6% of all air travel hours and is installed on 1250 aircraft that fly routes all across the globe. Like FlightLink, it offers a two-way information exchange at any altitude. However, like all non-Iridium satellite solutions, it is not available over the poles. eXConnect is used for both passenger Wi-Fi and television services as well as for operational efficiency applications unlocked by the power of the connected aircraft. For instance, it enables real-time engine monitoring, telemedicine, live updates to EFBs and much more.

6. Is the solution, or portions of the solution, flying today?

Our existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users will require no additional on-board hardware to use Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application.

The current generation of AirMap tracking solution was launched in June 2016 and is currently being trialed by three airlines.

Read the press release on this product.


More IFEC & Aviation News:

A) Each year, turbulence incidents cost airlines approximately $100 million due to crew and passenger injuries, unscheduled maintenance, operational inefficiencies, and revenue lost while planes are out of service. In fact, studies have shown that aircraft encounters with turbulence are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the commercial airline industry. The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM) has announced a groundbreaking deal with Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO) that will enable the delivery of real-time turbulence reports and alerts directly to pilots, dispatch and other operations personnel. Mark Gildersleeve, president of business solutions at The Weather Company, announced today at The Weather Company Aviation Conference that Gogo will be implementing Weather’s patented Turbulence Auto PIREP System (TAPS), a turbulence detection algorithm, on their aircraft-based communications server. The TAPS software will reside on Gogo’s server, which provides access to the necessary data generated by the aircraft to create reports of turbulence intensity. Gogo’s US-based air-to-ground and global satellite communication network is used to send the reports for immediate action in flight operations and weather forecasting. This is the first time a non-traditional system on the aircraft will be used to help enhance flight safety. Traditionally, flight operations personnel, pilots and aviation meteorologists received coded verbal reports with limited information on flight conditions, also known as PIREPS. Due to multiple reasons, including a lack of cockpit data connectivity, pilots were not able to get real-time updates. Using the Gogo network, pilots in the cockpit will now be able to access real-time turbulence reports and forecaster created alerts through Weather’s flight planning and operations applications and aircraft communication displays.

“Leveraging Gogo’s expanded fleet of aircrafts, The Weather Company can quickly share real-time turbulence data directly with pilots and dispatchers, thereby improving crew and passenger safety,” said Gildersleeve. “It is a great example of the Internet of Things in action, where we are collecting massive amounts of data very quickly and then using that insight to provide guidance to all flights that will be traveling through impacted air space.”

“In this increasingly connected world, it’s no longer just about passenger connectivity, we have to consider all the other ways we can leverage the available technology to enhance the overall flight experience and improve safety – such as a connected aircraft,” said Andrew Kemmetmueller, vice president of connected aircraft services, Gogo. “Our ability to provide access to real-time data through our network will help pilots and operations teams improve flight planning, and ultimately, help airlines deliver the best in-flight customer experience throughout a flight.” In addition to real-time alerting, Weather will be able to leverage the TAPS reports to continually improve turbulence forecasts, the skill of Weather’s overall forecast model, and the WSI Total Turbulence solution. Some customers of WSI Total Turbulence have seen a reduction in turbulence injuries and unnecessary turbulence-induced maintenance inspection by about 50% each. The reports will also empower Weather’s team of 40 aviation meteorologists to alert clients of weather-related safety risks globally. The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is the world’s largest private weather enterprise, helping people make informed decisions – and take action – in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate, personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers and thousands of businesses via Weather’s API, its business solutions division, and its own digital products from The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com). The company delivers up to 26 billion forecasts daily for 2.2 billion locations.

B) GOGO was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its fleet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17. Check out the full press release here.

C) We note that the Iran/Boeing airplane deal at $25B will include new versions of the B737, B777-300ER’s, and B777-900’s. A deal with Airbus includes some 73 wide bodies and 45 single ails worth an estimated $27B!

D) This study may explain aircraft Wi-Fi usage… be sure to check it out!

E) Take the time to watch this movie on Boeing’s patent for their solar airplane, it is great and unusual!

F) Thompson Aerospace is in the news!

Lake Forest, CA | June 9, 2016– Panasonic Avionics today announced that it is offering worldwide satellite tracking to all Global Communications Services and FlightLink™ customers.

Today, the company’s Global Communications Services and FlightLink solutions, when combined with Panasonic’s AirMap application, immediately satisfy ICAO’s Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System definitions for both normal and abnormal tracking.

Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “Today, we can seamlessly enable flight tracking on over 1,500 aircraft, and we expect to extend this capability to over 3,500 aircraft over the short term. We believe that this service will ultimately help improve the operational efficiency and safety of commercial air travel.”

To support these satellite-based solutions, Panasonic has deployed extensive ground and aircraft based communications solutions that enable tracking of aircraft in a variety of configurable and tailored update rates that support airline operations and exceed the minimum requirements of the current ICAO guidance. The AirMap application is the airline portal into these operations and provides them a graphical way to monitor, track and receive alerts on their aircraft.

Unlike many proposed technologies, Panasonic’s flight tracking is based the company’s Ku-band eXConnect broadband and Iridium satellite communications solutions. This allows airlines to integrate cockpit and crew communications with their flight tracking capabilities. This gives them the opportunity to use voice or text messaging to contact an aircraft based on the situational awareness they receive from Panasonic’s tracking solutions.

Margis added, “Our airline partners have already made a commitment to purchase a satellite communications system for passenger and/or operational usage. With only incremental cost to add the AirMap application, they will have an elegant and cost-effective solution without having to spend even more capital on a separate tracking technology.”

Three more airlines deploy the solution

Air Transport IT Summit, Brussels | June 17, 2015– Singapore Airlines, Royal Brunei and Norwegian Air Shuttle are the latest carriers to sign-up for SITA OnAir’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker. The product uses existing equipment and re-purposes air traffic control data to provide consistent monitoring throughout the flight. The three airlines will deploy it on their entire fleet starting this month.

Several airline customers and SITA OnAir have worked very closely together to define the functions and features of AIRCOM® FlightTracker, as well as validate and test the solution. Singapore Airlines for instance has provided SITA OnAir with requirements for the next generation of AIRCOM® FlightTracker.

Safety is clearly paramount for airlines and there is an agreement across the industry that they need the ability to track their aircraft at all times. SITA OnAir’s solution suits them perfectly, both because it provides the tracking they need and is simple to activate

“Norwegian Air Shuttle has a strict selection process for every new solution we introduce. This is particularly true for something as important as aircraft tracking. It quickly became clear that SITA OnAir is the only provider that could give us exactly what we need. SITA OnAir’s FlightTracker is the most complete solution available. Using multiple sources of data, we can track all our aircraft at 15 minute intervals or less. It also provides the most accurate data, using “smoothing” to combine position sources.”

“And of course, safety is paramount for a solution like this. FlightTracker’s automated alerting system allows us to manage our fleet of 100 aircraft and the additional 200 that will enter the fleet in the coming years safely and efficiently. A bonus feature is the unique way it integrates ATC data into our systems- it will give us valuable insight into our operations and how we can improve them,” said Chief Operating Officer Geir Steiro at Norwegian Air Shuttle.

“With the airlines’ invaluable support, we have designed the solution to make it simple for airlines to implement flight tracking,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITA OnAir. “For the 90-plus airlines already using our AIRCOM® FlightMessenger, we can deploy the solution in a few days. Following the recent ICAO discussions, we are also working on the definition and development of a new system to detect and report unusual situations.”

Dawkins continued, “As part of our commitment to the air transport community we will, during an emergency, provide AIRCOM® FlightTracker position reporting free of charge to SITA member customers.”

AIRCOM® FlightTracker is a ground-based, cost-effective software upgrade that uses existing equipment to allow airlines to follow aircraft positions and identify any unexpected deviations or gaps in position reports. It uses multiple sources of data so airlines can guarantee tracking intervals at 15 minutes or less for every flight. It was developed after ICAO and IATA called for global tracking technology that uses existing equipment and procedures as much as possible; SITA OnAir’s flight tracking solution meets these criteria. More airlines in Europe and the Middle East are currently assessing AIRCOM® FlightTracker with a view to making the necessary upgrade. SITA OnAir is expecting to make further customer announcements very soon.

Infographic EFB WEATHER

Canberra, Australia | March 2, 2015– Inmarsat, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications and safety services, today announced that it is partnering with Airservices Australia and other key aviation industry stakeholders to trial improved flight tracking services on commercial airline flights to and from Australia.

The announcement follows a resolution on 6 February by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to adopt a new 15-minute tracking standard for commercial aircraft. ICAO is the United Nations body tasked with developing international civil aviation standards and recommended practices.

Inmarsat is working with industry partners, Airservices Australia, Qantas and Virgin Australia in developing the operational concept for the trial, using Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) satellite technology in Australia’s oceanic regions.

Airservices Australia is the first Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) to trial the ICAO standard, utilising Inmarsat’s global flight tracking ADS-C messaging service. ADS-C provides air traffic controllers with a constantly updated surveillance picture of their airspace, thereby allowing safe and efficient oceanic operations.

11,000 commercial passenger aircraft are already equipped with an Inmarsat satellite connection, representing over 90% of the world’s long haul commercial fleet. Airlines participating in the trial include Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “This is an important step in improving international airline safety and we are very pleased to be working with Airservices Australia and our industry partners to implement this enhanced flight tracking service.

“We applaud ICAO’s decision to announce the new tracking standard and believe that we are well placed to help implement the standard given our existing global satellite coverage and the time-frame proposed. Inmarsat’s heritage is in safety and we stand ready to coordinate normal and abnormal flight tracking services with the airlines and the ANSPs.”

  • Safety solution could be up and running in a matter of weeks

London | February 6, 2015– Following the conclusion of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Second High Level Safety Conference in Montreal this week, Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has announced its support of the regulatory body’s recommendations to enhance aviation safety, saying it is ready to participate in the adoption of a performance-based standard for global tracking of commercial aircraft.

Inmarsat welcomes ICAO’s conclusion that countries and industry should begin the voluntary implementation of global tracking which provide industry with viable options, as a matter of urgency.

Mary McMillan, Vice President of Safety and Operational Services at Inmarsat, said: “Inmarsat has been powering aviation safety since the introduction of oceanic surveillance and communications services in the early 1990s. Safety is our heritage and our future. Our focus is to work with all aviation partners to develop reliable safety services and effective operational practices.”

ICAO wants to see flight tracking implemented as quickly as possible as part of the proposed Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS). Inmarsat has actively pursued the potential use of available Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) capabilities on board aircraft that support flight tracking activities. “Inmarsat is looking forward to working with ICAO, member states, airlines and all air navigation stakeholders leading to an expedited implementation of the GADSS concept”, says McMillan

ADS-C surveillance has already enabled increased aviation capacity and more efficient use in the oceanic regions. Contracts can be set to respond automatically at predetermined time intervals and to provide additional conformance monitoring capabilities.

Over 90% of today’s wide-bodied trans-oceanic aircraft are currently equipped with avionics compatible for ADS-C use, meaning it can be rapidly deployed to ensure global harmonization and operational seamlessness. ADS-C provides active aircraft position tracking by transmitting the aircraft’s current position and the next two planned positions, allowing flight dispatchers and air traffic controllers to track the aircraft’s progress and predict its next position.

  • Interest continues to grow as international law facilitates asset-based financing for aircraft equipment

Dublin | October 9, 2014– The International Registry of Mobile Assets (International Registry) has achieved a major milestone with the announcement that more than half a million registrations have now been filed. The International Registry provides for the registration and protection of financial interests in aircraft objects, such as airframes, engines and helicopters and was created with the view to reducing financing costs. The Aviation Working Group estimates it will save the global air transport industry USD 161 Billion USD between 2009 and 2030.

The establishment of the International Registry is provided for under an international treaty regime – the Cape Town Convention and Protocol of 2001. This was adopted under the joint auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit). The International Registry is supervised by ICAO and operated by Aviareto, a joint venture between SITA and the Irish Government. It is used to establish legal priority in the case of disputes over interests in aircraft objects. Currently, fifty-five States across the world have ratified both the Convention and the Aircraft Protocol.

The International Registry is a fully online business which services this global industry from Dublin. It started operations in 2006 and since then, there have been over 500,000 registrations covering 110,000 aircraft objects with an estimated value of over half a trillion USD. Of those, 27% of registrations are on airframes, 68% on engines and 5% on helicopters. There is now an average of 7,000 registrations each month.

ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin highlighted that the United Nations aviation body, “has been actively promoting the ratification of the Cape Town Convention and Protocol worldwide. We recognize this latest development as a very important milestone for the International Registry, which is a central feature of the Cape Town instruments. Reaching half a million registrations clearly demonstrates that the International Registry is meeting the needs for which it was created.”

Unidroit, the depositary for the treaties, expects other industries to follow the lead set by aviation. José Angelo Estrella-Faria, Secretary-General of UNIDROIT, underlined that, The International Registry of Mobile Assets has been a huge success, so much so that similar registries are currently under development for the rail and satellite industries. Unidroit is also examining the development of an agricultural, mining and construction equipment registry.”

Rob Cowan, Managing Director of Aviareto, said: “Aviareto established the online business of the International Registry of Mobile Assets by capitalizing on SITA’s air transport IT expertise and Ireland’s global leadership as centre for aviation finance and leasing. It is very satisfying that it is helping the whole industry by cutting financing costs so effectively. It is also very gratifying that our unique experience will help in the development of the international rail registry in the coming months.”

  • SITA provides biometrics kiosks to fast-track international arrivals

Orlando, FL | February 19, 2014–  Orlando International Airport is the first to offer international travelers from visa waiver countries the option to ‘land, touch and go’, using SITA’s Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks to self-process for faster US border clearance. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) announced today that arriving passengers from 37 visa waiver countries can now enjoy quick and easy processing at US customs and immigration.

Orlando is the only airport in the United States to use these high-tech biometric kiosks which allow international travelers, from countries that participate in the U.S. visa waiver program, to self-process into the US. Ten biometric APC kiosks are now available for US citizens, Canadians and visa waiver travelers to complete their Customs Declaration form on a touch-screen, have their passports scanned and fingerprints and photograph taken prior to, and in preparation for, their interview with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. The pre-processing these kiosks perform significantly reduces the time to complete the clearance process.

Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said: “These kiosks are the first to go live for international travelers arriving in the USA and are a great addition to Orlando International Airport. We have a growing number of wide-body aircraft arriving within 90 minutes of each other every afternoon and 90 percent of travelers are arriving from visa waiver countries. Since we installed these new kiosks we have seen a dramatic increase in the total number of travelers processed per minute.”

Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: “This is another great improvement in the “Orlando Experience”, the airport’s initiative to improve customer satisfaction. SITA specializes in using innovative technology to improve the passenger experience at airports around the world. Innovation in border management is a win-win situation. This change is expected to save millions of dollars for the government and the USA travel and tourism industry.”

The iBorders™ solution implemented by SITA in partnership with Vision-Box® automatically verifies and validates the passenger’s travel documents, checks flight information, captures an ICAO-compliant face image and up to 10 fingerprints, as well as obtaining the customs declaration data required by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP). This full process can be completed in 90 seconds or less.  At the end of the self-service process, travelers receive a receipt to be presented to the CBP officer for the final clearance, at a fast-track dedicated lane.

The kiosks are complimentary to use and do not require registration in advance; however, travelers must have previously entered the U.S. and have fingerprints on file with CBP. They are designed with the passenger experience in mind. They have intuitive, user-friendly interfaces, clear instructions and feedback, combined with quick proactive adjustments for each passenger including adjusting automatically to their height.

SITA is in discussions with international airports across the USA to install these kiosks as quickly as possible to help reduce the unwelcome waiting times which international travelers have experienced in recent years.

A paper outlining the efficiencies that Phase III APC Kiosks can deliver is available here.