Posted on: 14 April 2015 by Ross McSweeny
Just under a year after the solution was launched in fast track mode during June 2014, Malaysia Airlines is set to become the first airline to go live with SITA OnAir’s AIRCOM FlightTracker this summer, as revealed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.
As a ground-based software upgrade, SITA OnAir’s FlightTracker uses equipment including the AIRCOM Server ACARS message handling system, which 90 airlines already have in place, to re-purpose air traffic control data and allow airlines to follow aircraft positions and identify any unexpected deviations or gaps in position reports.The AIRCOM FlightTracker has been designed to incorporate ICAO’s new guidelines for tracking intervals of at least every 15 minutes. It uses multiple sources of data and enables airlines to proactively obtain ADS-C tracking data immediately when it detects a gap in data from other sources.AIRCOM FlightTracker can also obtain one-off position reports from the Flight Management computers on short-haul aircraft that do not have FANS data link avionics.As the system does not require any modifications to the aircraft, SITA OnAir claims this setup means cost and disruption are minimal.“We have designed the solution so airlines have straightforward access to ATC-like tracking data,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITA OnAir. “For those airlines already using our ACARS messaging, we can deploy it very quickly. Following the recent ICAO discussions, we are also working on the definition and development of a new system to detect and report unusual situations. As part of our commitment to the air transport community we are also investigating new aircraft solutions that are independent of aircraft power or systems.”“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,” continued Dawkins.