Swiss-based industry information technology specialist Sita won an FAA contract to provide its Future Air Navigation System (FANS 1/A) datalink services to manage air traffic across the U.S. oceanic airspace.
Sita’s datalink services will enable air traffic controllers to send text instructions to pilots in real-time over oceanic airspace, covering a vast swath from the U.S. to European and Asian airspace. Controllers operating from FAA centers in Anchorage, New York, and Oakland can send up to 1,200 messages per hour, including multiple concurrent messages, Sita added, noting this will help them detect conflicts between aircraft and offer more optimal routing.
Using Automatic-Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) and Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC), pilots and controllers can communicate through standardized digital text messages. These messages provide information such as aircraft position, route, requests and guidance for routing, speed, and altitude changes, as well as weather and traffic advisories. Pilots can receive ATC instructions that are more accurate and confirmed and air traffic control can reduce separation, Sita said.
Sita, which estimated the oceanic airspace encompassed about 62.4 million sq km (24.1 million sq miles), noted the North Atlantic is the busiest air traffic route “by far,” with some 2,000 aircraft crossing between the U.S. East Coast and Europe daily. Traffic over this route is predicted to increase by 50 percent over the next decade, it added.
“Our air traffic control communication solutions are used by more than 80 air navigational service providers globally and now also by the FAA in one of the world's busiest airspaces,” said Sébastien Fabre, CEO of Sita for Aircraft. “As traffic slowly resumes post-Covid, a step change is needed to increase airspace capacity and make aviation more sustainable and efficient.”
With the contract, Sita now supports the management of the entire U.S. domestic and oceanic airspace.