When it comes to providing satellite communication safety solutions to the aviation industry, we were first-to-market in the 1990s and have remained an important part of their evolution ever since.

Our market-leading Classic Aero and SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) services offer global coverage, full redundancy and unrivalled cybersecurity, as well as 99.9% availability worldwide. In addition, they provide the regulated communications and surveillance capabilities that are mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for all aircraft flying oceanic routes.

These services are powered by the world’s most advanced global L-band network, which we own and operate. Trusted by over 200 airlines, our services are onboard more than 13,000 aircraft around the world. This means that we process tens of thousands of aircraft position reports in a single day and over 50 million position reports annually. 

Our services

Safety and air traffic modernisation are entwined in numerous ways and Inmarsat has been leading the way for decades. Our services provide fast and precise aircraft positioning data that facilitates air traffic management, allowing planes to safely fly closer together. We also help pilots and controllers communicate with each other when out of radio range.

  • Classic Aero provides surveillance through Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) and communications through Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), meeting ICAO requirements. It is available as a linefit option across all aircraft capable of flying oceanic airspace. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently committed to continue using ADS-C technology to achieve reduced distances between aircraft.
  • SB-S is the first and only global, secure, broadband-speed IP connection for both operations and safety communications. It delivers the same safety services as Classic Aero via an IP connection, helping airlines to be ready for future ICAO mandates and air traffic management evolutions. In addition, it provides IP connectivity for operational efficiencies such as engine monitoring, real-time weather, telemedicine and preventive maintenance.

Helping to develop safety standards

In the early days of commercial aviation, we worked with ICAO to develop the safety standards that built the Future Air Navigation System (FANS) avionics system, which has been used by commercial aircraft to communicate for over three decades.

Published in 1988, the first FANS report stipulated that satellite technology was required for all aircraft that fly oceanic routes. At the time, and for many years after that, we were the only provider in the world with the capability and expertise to connect to ocean-going aircraft moving at 500mph via satellite.

With the introduction of broadband-speed safety services, we are now helping to develop new ATM modernisation safety concepts such as ‘Black Box in the Cloud’ and the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS).

Meeting ICAO regulations and beyond

ICAO defined the Aircraft Control Domain (ACD) to identify the decision-critical data that is required for the safe operation of an aircraft. Today, our safety services are the only ones authorised to provide flight deck communications everywhere in the world, including China, Russia, and India.

As a trusted advisor to global regulators, we are an active participant in defining future standards. This gives us unique foresight into planned requirements, meaning that customer solutions are future-proofed.

And as new digitised safety and operational applications become available, we constantly evolve our services so that customers always have access to the latest technology. Our fully-funded technology roadmap stands as testament to that, and we are facilitating early adoption by introducing new data subscription models.

In addition, we are a leading participant in our industry with regulators and other stakeholders to collaborate on standards for cybersecurity. An example of this is our corporate-level ISO 27001 certification, which demonstrates our internal networks, policies and standards comply with the highest cybersecurity standards, including sophisticated VPN technology and KPI infrastructures.

The next generation of air traffic management

In certain busy airspaces around the world like Europe and North America, current VHF radio-based air traffic management communications are reaching the limits of their capacity.

We are supporting a number of programmes to utilise satcom services as a way to unlock more airspace capacity. One of these programmes is called Iris, a satellite-based data link solution that brings secure, high bandwidth data link communications over Europe. Iris enables ‘4D’ trajectories, pinpointing aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time. This allows precise tracking of flights and more efficient management of traffic.

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