LONDON, 20Oct. 2016. Officials at Inmarsat (ISAT.L), provider of global mobile satellite communications (SATCOM) with headquarters in London, are increasing their collaboration with industry partners Rockwell Collins and SITAONAIR to help increase the safety and efficiency of cockpit and aircraft communications, of value to airline, air traffic control (ATC), and airport operations.
Inmarsat enjoys an expanded strategic relationship with Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL) – a provider of aviation electronics and communications in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – which will now provide the new SwiftBroadband-Safety service for cockpit and aircraft operations, laying the foundation for a smooth transition to Internet protocol (IP)-based aviation safety services.
Officials at Rockwell Collins, a longtime provider of Inmarsat’s Classic Aero safety service as part of its information management solutions portfolio, signed a letter of intent to provide Inmarsat’s next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety service to existing and new customers across the aviation industry. Officials at both companies plan to work with airlines to develop and introduce a smooth and cost-effective migration path from traditional flight deck connectivity solutions to new, higher-bandwidth secure IP connections available through SwiftBroadband-Safety services.
SwiftBroadband-Safety uses secure IP-based broadband connectivity that exceeds the capabilities of other IP alternatives currently available 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 (EFB) applications, such as networked graphical weather.
It also enables air traffic management (ATM) modernization throughout the world and fulfills the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS), including global flight tracking, by offering reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS).
“Satellite communications has driven a significant expansion of air traffic over the world’s oceans, promoting global economic growth and expansion. Now, SwiftBroadband-Safety brings secure IP to the cockpit and its host of unparalleled capabilities for the aviation industry will drive even more expansion through greater efficiency, reliability and capacity at a lower cost per bit for the information exchanged,” says Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation’s senior vice president of strategy and business development.
“The aviation community depends on safe, secure and affordable flight deck connectivity for critical operations that are vital to their business,” says Michael DiGeorge, Rockwell Collins vice president of commercial aviation and network services. “The move to this advanced technology platform ushers in a new era of information and connectivity solutions for the global aviation industry. We anticipate strong demand from our existing and new ARINC GLOBALink customers for SwiftBroadband-Safety services.”
Inmarsat officials also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) naming SITAONAIR – a provider of e-Aircraft solutions including technology, applications, and services developed in partnership with airlines, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and airframers – as a distribution partner supplying commercial airlines and business aviation operators with SwiftBroadband-Safety services.
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).
“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,” van Essen says. “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 customize data solutions.”
“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,” says SITAONAIR CEO David Lavorel. “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.”
SwiftBroadband-Safety has received industry support that has reinforced its status as the flightdeck communications platform for the future, officials say, including its selection by Airbus for its A320 and A330 aircraft families, and ongoing trials by Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian Airlines’ technical staff are evaluating Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety in concert with Rockwell Collins.
SwiftBroadband-Safety hardware is currently available for initial retrofit installation on existing aircraft and will become a standard option on new aircraft deliveries starting in 2018. This capability builds on Inmarsat’s reputation as a provider of high-quality voice and data services to 95 percent of the world’s transoceanic aircraft fleet and Rockwell Collins’ high-reliability, secure ARINC Global Network, officials say.
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