Inmarsat has partnered with Airservices Australia to initiate satellite voice communications 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 complement conventional voice communications equipment with modern digital technology. The evaluation is working toward two important customer benefits: more effective and ultimately safer aviation safety services over oceans and remote areas and lower weight for avionics, which will contribute to reduced fuel burn and greenhouse emissions.
Currently, cockpit communication 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 dialing." 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. Enhanced voice communications will support long-term efficiency and safety improvements that require these direct communications.
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.