SITA and Flight Explorer are targeting airlines worldwide with the development of an integrated decision-support solution that will provide airlines with the unique ability to track, manage and communicate with their flights through a single computer screen.
Airline flight dispatchers have been able to use the Flight Explorer Aircraft Situation Display (ASD) application to track their flights, and separately use SITA AIRCOM to communicate with pilots, but the new integration of tracking and data link communications on one screen will really enhance their ability to maintain complete operational control of their flights.
AirTran Airways which already separately uses both SITA AIRCOM for in-flight data link communication and Flight Explorer’s ASD, is set to carry out the first tests of the new combined solution in September.
Philip Clinch, SITA Vice President of Aircraft Communications said, “We are excited that AirTran Airways has agreed to test this unique integration of flight tracking and data link communications. We have worked with AirTran to ensure that the use of AIRCOM enables them to optimize their operations and this new solution will really enhance their ability to deal with any unplanned events.”
Flight Explorer’s leading graphical flight-following software began by primarily utilizing FAA radar data and is used by over 85 percent of North American major airlines. Complementing this with position reports coming via the SITA AIRCOM data link network of 900 VHF stations in 160 countries and satellite links will help both partners reach each other’s customers and provide airlines with a global flight control solution.
SITA is integrating Flight Explorer into its AIRCOM Server product, which offers airlines a turnkey solution for the exchange of messages with their aircraft cockpit computers.
Clinch added: “We told our customers we wanted to enhance the AIRCOM Server to enable better flight following and they all said that instead of reinventing the wheel we should integrate with Flight Explorer because it was already the ideal solution for flight following.”
SITA AIRCOM service is used by over 100 airlines, providing service to far more airlines than any other digital communications service. Their 8,000 aircraft all use the VHF AIRCOM data link service and 2,000 of them also use the Satellite AIRCOM voice and data service. AIRCOM serves aircraft with data link computers that follow the ACARS industry standard.