|Fiumicino Airport. Photo: Ra Boe / Wikipedia
[Avionics Today 10-01-2015] SITA OnAir has entered an agreement with ENAV, Italy’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), to jointly provide air/ground data Very High Frequency (VHF)-based communication services in Italy. ENAV is deploying VHF data communication equipment at 19 airports across Italy, including Leonardo da Vinci Airport Fiumicino in Rome and Milan-Malpensa Airport. This enables airlines flying in Italian airspace to use SITA OnAir Aircraft Operational Communications (AOC) services through the ENAV Data Link network and Controller Pilot data Link Communication (CPDLC) services directly provided by ENAV.
CPDLC enables air traffic controllers and pilots to communicate via text, rather than the traditional voice communication. This improves the quality of communications and, therefore, the overall safety and efficiency of air traffic management. Significantly, it is mandated by European Commission regulation 29/2009, which comes into force as part of the Single European Sky initiative. This regulation mandates the use of CPDLC in the upper airspace of the European Union: all aircraft flying in Europe and all air traffic control ground systems have to be equipped with CPDLC.
Other European Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) already working with SITA OnAir include FABEC (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland), South West FAB (Portugal, Spain), and the DANUBE FAB (Romania, Bulgaria).