United Airlines to evaluate SwiftBroadband-Safety service

14 June 2017: United Airlines is to take part in a technology evaluation of SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S), Inmarsat’s next generation flight deck communications platform offering global, high-speed, secure connectivity.

SB-S will be evaluated on four United Airlines’ Boeing 767 aircraft, which will be installed with Inmarsat manufacturing partner Cobham SATCOM’s AVIATOR 300D satcom system.

Enabling powerful and flexible communications with real-time inflight information, the IP-based broadband service enhances airline safety, asset utilisation, security, and operations.

Flight tracking

United Airlines will deploy its equipped planes in the highly congested North Atlantic airspace. It will use the new platform for communications and surveillance with Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) messaging.

SB-S also provides a range of ‘always on, always secure’ applications, which United Airlines will be able to use, including continual positional awareness for flight tracking, flight data streaming (known as “Black Box in the Cloud”) and real-time electronic flight bag applications, such as networked graphical weather. Operational benefits include more fuel-efficient routes and the ability to transmit vital aircraft performance and positioning data in real time.

Installations of the AVIATOR 300D systems on United Airlines’ planes are scheduled to commence later this year. The systems include Cobham’s IGA-5001 Intermediate Gain Antenna and will use the AVIATOR 300D Supplemental Type Certificate developed by L2 Aviation.

Powerful capability

Chuck Stewart, United Airlines Chief Technical Pilot for Communications, said: “United is excited about installing and using this powerful new communications capability as we expect to see it enhancing our operational efficiency, especially in places like the North Atlantic.”

Andy Beers, Director, Global Aero Sales, Cobham SATCOM, said: “We are excited about this latest opportunity to contribute to the ongoing evaluation of SwiftBroadband-Safety as it supports our development of communication technologies Cobham SATCOM is rolling out to meet the future needs of the aviation community, particularly our AVIATOR S Series next generation product line, designed specifically to leverage Inmarsat’s new SB-S services.”

Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation Vice President of Safety and Operational Services, said: “As a progressive and innovative airline, United is making an important move anticipating the future of aviation. With SB-Safety’s secure broadband platform, it will be able to benefit from the fully connected flight deck that delivers improved safety and security, better efficiency and optimised fleet performance.”

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