Shenzhen Airlines is to launch an in-flight evaluation of Inmarsat SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S), the next generation IP-based broadband service for the flight deck, at the beginning of May.
Inmarsat says the SwiftBroadband-Safety platform, which will be installed on Shenzhen’s Airbus 320 aircraft using Cobham avionics’ AVIATOR 300D hardware, will deliver in-flight communications and secure, real-time, in-air information to enhance Shenzhen’s safety, security and operational capabilities – both in the air and on the ground
The Shenzhen partnership is part of a joint venture between Inmarsat, Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company, Ltd. (MCN) and Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) to provide aviation safety services to the rapidly growing Chinese market.
In addition to compliance with the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) mandates CCAR 121 and AC-121, Shenzhen Airlines will focus its evaluation on three core SwiftBroadband-Safety satellite communication (satcom) capabilities, including:
- Satellite Voice (satvoice) Communications – Two-channel satellite-based services that enable faster and high-quality voice communication between the flight deck crew and its designated contacts on the ground, including air traffic controllers and airline operations personnel.
- Integral Global Flight Tracking – This enhanced, live tracking feature pinpoints an aircraft’s location through regular transmission of position reports. SB-S flight tracking enables the airline and Air Traffic Control (ATC) to know where the aircraft is and to understand its status in real time, which is essential for both safety and delivery of fuel-efficient flight.
- ACARS Over IP – Traditionally used to communicate with both the Airline Operations Centre and ATC, this short-text capability over IP is a prerequisite for FANS 1/A compliance in remote oceanic areas.
Inmarsat says Shenzhen Airlines also will be able to take advantage of other SB-S platform features, including real-time electronic flight bag applications, such as networked graphical weather and, ultimately, flight data streaming (“Black Box in the Cloud”).
In addition to providing critical flight safety solutions, its high-speed communications capabilities also allow SB-S to deliver operational savings to airlines in the form of reduced fuel costs, improved efficiency and enhanced security.
A recent study by Helios showed that satellite communications has already delivered US$3 billion in benefits to airlines to date (see IATA 20-year Passenger Forecast (Oct. 18, 2016)).
Captain Shao Bin, Vice President of Operations for Shenzhen Airlines said: “As China’s skies become more crowded and advanced flight-tracking capabilities become a necessity in the region’s airspace, Shenzhen wants to be at the forefront of this exciting next chapter of aviation history.
“We look forward to evaluating SwiftBroadband-Safety as a pioneering, satellite-based connectivity solution that will enable Shenzhen to offer enhanced safety, increased capacity and more efficient operations to our passengers – both in China and beyond.”
Captain Mary McMillan, Vice President of Safety and Operational Services at Inmarsat’s Aviation business unit said: “As China continues its path toward becoming the world’s largest passenger aviation nation, Shenzhen is making an important move to ensure it is ready to not only expand its domestic service offerings but also meet Chinese passengers’ growing demand for international travel.
“As the trusted provider of aviation safety and operational services, Inmarsat is excited to work with Shenzhen and our partners to understand how SB-S can optimise their flight deck and aircraft operations as they enter this exciting new era in Chinese aviation.”