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Satellite communications provide ultimate connectivity for a consistent global experience for the whole aircraft, from safety communications to high-speed broadband and live TV in the cabin. Aviation safety is enabled through data communications with control centres on the ground using the C-band. Communications with the aircraft themselves are enabled using the L-band. They enable a wide range of uses in the cockpit and the cabin. These include safety communications, weather and flight-plan updates, as well as passenger connectivity for email, Internet access, VoIP telephone calls, GSM and SMS messaging.

Satellite communication enables safe and efficient passage of the aircraft to its destination with up-to-date information, including route, air traffic and airline operational information, supporting all key cockpit applications.

How satellites safeguard your safe passage

  • Satellite-aided ATC
    When an aircraft is out of range of VHF/UHF radio, such as in oceanic airspace, satellite services enable satellite-aided air traffic control (ATC). The ability to have reliable communications with ground-based controllers at all times, on all major oceanic routes, is an important safety feature.
  • Automatic dependent surveillance (ADS)
    Satellite communication facilitates the automatic reporting of an aircraft’s real-time position, including altitude, speed and heading, via satellite to air traffic control centres, helping controllers know where an aircraft is at all times.
  • Controller / pilot datalink communications (CPDLC)
    Satellite communication also enables the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) routing instructions, clearances and other messages that need to be sent directly to the cockpit as electronic data messages. The benefits are increased flight safety and efficiency through more effective communications.
  • Voice services
    Satellite services also support air traffic control and critical airline voice communications when the aircraft is out of VHF radio range. The aircraft systems are set up so that cockpit communications have priority over any of the passenger communications, so maximising safety and reliability.

Always available, always reliable.

How it works

Air Traffic Management

On a typical day, in the height of summer, around 30,000 flights travel through European airspace. In the world, that means over 100,000 flights every day!

Satellite networks play an indispensable role in efficient air traffic management. Ka-band satellites using the Gigahertz frequency spectrum can reach user terminals across most of the populated world. As a result, ATM based satellite networks can be effectively used to provide real time as well as non-real time communications services to remote areas. Satellites offer wide geographic coverage including interconnection of “ATM islands”, multipoint to multipoint communications facilitated by the inherent broadcasting ability of satellites, bandwidth on demand (Demand Assignment Multiple Access (DAMA) capabilities), and an alternative to fiber optic networks for disaster recovery options.

Satellites facilitate safe and efficient ATM

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