Australian Deputy PM announces flight tracking trial with Inmarsat

01 March 2015: Inmarsat is partnering with Airservices Australia and other key aviation industry stakeholders to trial improved flight tracking services on commercial airline flights to and from Australia.

The formal announcement of the trial was made today (1 March) by Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, at Parliament House in Canberra. It follows a resolution on 6 February by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to adopt a new 15-minute tracking standard for commercial aircraft.

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

ICAO standard

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 to allow safe and efficient oceanic operations.

11,000 commercial passenger aircraft are already equipped with an Inmarsat satellite connection, representing over 90% of the world’s long haul commercial fleet.

Airline safety

“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,” said Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat CEO.

“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.”

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