Etihad Airways has successfully implemented the International Civil Aviation Organisation global aeronautical distress and safety system recommendations for flight tracking.
Etihad Airways now not only meets the GADSS recommendation of tracking its flights with position updates every 15 minutes under normal conditions, but also at the frequency of once-per minute when an aircraft is in distress.
Airlines are expected to introduce the latter by 2021 by the ICAO.
In partnership with SITA, Etihad Airways has achieved the capability with the adoption of Sitaonair’s Aircom FlightTracker system, which utilises FlightAware data services to provide the precise position, speed and altitude of the airlines airborne fleet worldwide.
FlightAware integrates global aircraft position data from the Aireon space-based automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast system, hosted on the Iridium Next satellite constellation.
The Aireon space-based ADS-B system provides universal coverage of ADS-B equipped aircraft, with positions updated at least once per minute globally, enabling Etihad Airways to modernise its flight tracking capabilities across the entire globe.
John Wright, vice president network operations, Etihad Airways, said: “Safety of our guests and crew at Etihad Airways remains our number one priority.
“Implementing this technology across our entire network is an exciting and ground-breaking milestone and we’re thrilled to have achieved this before the local mandate is in full effect.”
As an international airline operating across some areas with limited ground-based receivers and air traffic surveillance, Etihad Airways now has comprehensive coverage, eliminating gaps over the oceanic regions, large parts of the African continent and polar airspace.
Also today, the national airline of the UAE has enhanced its upgrade system, enabling customers to now use Etihad Guest Miles as a form of payment to bid for a premium seat in a higher cabin.
The new function will give customers the choice to bid on their upgrades using miles in addition to the existing credit card option.
Guests will be able to see real-time notifications of their bid displayed on their screen, allowing two or more individual bids at the same time.
Regular email and SMS updates will also be sent to notify them of the status of their bid.
The auction will take place from 48 to six hours prior to their flight’s departure.
Once the auction closes, the successful winner will be notified immediately.