Over 12,000 aircraft in total are currently using Inmarsat’s Classic Aero safety service. In 2015, Inmarsat processed approximately 100,000 aircraft position reports in a single day and 35 million throughout the whole year.
Our next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) service is the first and only global, secure, IP connection for safety communications. With SB-S, the communications and surveillance applications that enable Air Traffic Management will be faster, stronger, and more reliable. Surveillance with Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) and communications with Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) will help airlines exceed the minimum performance standards required by aviation regulators across the world.
New safety improvements for airlines include:
SB-S offers faster communications, using spot beam technology over Inmarsat’s I-4 constellation to dynamically allocate resources to the areas where it is most needed. This helps ensure that safety-critical information is available on-demand for the pilot, the airline, and air traffic controllers. When the right data is delivered the cockpit at the right time, pilots can safely change course to avoid severe weather and air traffic controllers can allow planes to fly closer together with no increased risk. A reduced degree of flight separation will allow more aircraft to fly on the same routes concurrently, helping keep pace with global passenger demand and creating more revenue for airlines.
The safer skies envisioned by next generation air traffic management programmes like NextGen, SESAR and Iris will require more frequent position reports and real-time data streaming from the aircraft. SB-S’s secure high bandwidth allows flight data to be automatically streamed to the ground, a concept called ‘Black Box in the Cloud’ that will increase the positional awareness of a flight and improve response time in the event of an emergency.
Digital technology is continually evolving, so it’s crucial for airlines to meet and exceed the latest safety standards. Inmarsat has over two decades of experience in helping commercial airlines achieve the highest standards of flight safety through our advanced connectivity technologies. We work closely with regulatory bodies to ensure that safety standards are up-to-date, working towards a secure and robust solution for aircraft safety. With SB-S powering cockpit avionics, faster surveillance and communications will help airlines exceed the performance standards required by aviation regulators across the world.
Vastly greater connectivity and more data means that better IT security is needed – and just as the cockpit and the cabin are separated by a physical door, the data for passenger broadband in the cabin and SB-S in the cockpit will be separated by a ‘data fortress door.’ This is a key component of SwiftBroadband-Safety which utilises the highest level of security protocols to ensure robust levels of encryption and security. It means that demand for passenger or other data will not affect the safety-critical cockpit data.
SB-S is a pioneering technology, built to help airlines meet their safety responsibilities. We are constantly innovating and investing in our technology to ensure we stay best-in-class. Inmarsat’s investments include updating our systems as new technologies become available to ensure our customers are always at the forefront of evolving safety standards. We will continue to support new safety applications introduced in the cockpit, while leading the way to a safer and more secure aviation industry.