Inmarsat: “Live flight tracking could be up and running in weeks”

Earth as seen from spaceAfter the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Second High Level Safety Conference in Montreal this week, Inmarsat has said it is ready to participate in the adoption of a performance-based standard for global tracking of commercial aircraft.

It says it welcomes ICAO’s conclusion that countries and industry should begin the voluntary implementation of global tracking as a matter of urgency.

In a statement it said a “safety solution could be up and running in a matter of weeks”.

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.

More than 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 harmonisation 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.

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