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Inmarsat partners with Airservices Australia to trial new global flight tracking service

Tech City based global mobile satellite communications firm Inmarsat has linked up with Airservices Australia to trial improved flight tracking services on commercial airline flights to and from Australia.

The deal follows a resolution on 6 February by the International Civil Aviation Organization to adopt a new 15-minute tracking standard for commercial aircraft.

ICAO is the United Nations body tasked with developing international civil aviation standards and recommended practices.

Operational concept

Alongside Airservices Australia Inmarsat is also working with Qantas and Virgin Australia in developing the operational concept for the trial, using Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) satellite technology in Australia’s oceanic regions.

Airservices Australia is the first Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) to trial the ICAO standard, utilising Inmarsat’s global flight tracking ADS-C messaging service.

ADS-C provides air traffic controllers with a constantly updated surveillance picture of their airspace, thereby allowing safe and efficient oceanic operations.

Some 11,000 commercial passenger aircraft are already equipped with an Inmarsat satellite connection, representing over 90% of the world’s long haul commercial fleet. Airlines participating in the trial include Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said:

“This is an important step in improving international airline safety and we are very pleased to be working with Airservices Australia and our industry partners to implement this enhanced flight tracking service.

“We applaud ICAO’s decision to announce the new tracking standard and believe that we are well placed to help implement the standard given our existing global satellite coverage and the time-frame proposed.

“Inmarsat’s heritage is in safety and we stand ready to coordinate normal and abnormal flight tracking services with the airlines and the ANSPs.”