Malaysia Airlines first customer to track fleet with satellites

by Clayton Vallabhan | April 19th, 2017

SITAONAIR, Aieron and FlightAware have announce that Malaysia Airlines will be the first SITAONAIR airline customer to benefit from its flight tracking partnership.

Under the agreement, all Malaysia Airlines aircraft will have access to minute-by-minute, 100% global, flight tracking data, delivered by SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker.

This solution will enhance the existing SITAONAIR AIRCOM FlightTracker by adding Aireon’s space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data to the existing data available from FlightAware’s multiple global sources, complementing active Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Future Air Navigation System (FANS) activity data.

By incorporating this data, Malaysia Airlines’ aircraft operations center will receive real-time position updates of its airborne fleet globally. Aireon’s space-based ADS-B data will also resolve any existing data feed coverage gaps that remain, particularly over oceanic and remote airspace, where there is currently no surveillance.

No new avionics or modifications are needed for aircraft to take advantage of this new service.

“Real-time global aircraft tracking has long been a goal of the aviation community,” said Captain Izham Ismail, COO, Malaysia Airlines. “We are proud to be the first airline to adopt this solution using space-based ADS-B data as part of SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker.”

Paul Gibson, Portfolio Director, AIRCOM, at SITAONAIR, said: “With the addition of the Aireon SM data, via FlightAware, to SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker, combined with our active monitoring and automated alerting capabilities, Malaysia Airlines will be at the cutting-edge of real-time flight tracking technology. With access to up-to-the-minute reporting, Malaysia Airlines will know the location, heading, speed and altitude of all aircraft in its fleet, at all times, and be alerted to any exceptions.”

In November 2016, Aireon, FlightAware and SITAONAIR announced a new partnership to deliver Aireon data via FlightAware to SITAONAIR customers. FlightAware provides a combination of global air traffic control data, aircraft datalink information and terrestrial ADS-B data through a secure streaming data feed.

Aireon is launching a new satellite network with Iridium. Once the system is operational in 2018, airlines already using SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker will automatically begin seeing the new Aireon data appear in their systems without the need for costly modifications.

“In addition to not requiring any new avionics or modifications to their aircraft, Malaysia Airlines will seamlessly gain real-time flight tracking ability of its fleet, even in areas where regional Air Navigation Service Providers do not have full surveillance,” said FlightAware CEO, Daniel Baker. “The result will be that Malaysia Airlines will have greater visibility of their aircraft’s exact location.”

Aireon CEO, Don Thoma added: “Malaysia Airlines has taken a lead role in the industry since the tragic events of 2014. Real-time, global flight tracking, anywhere on the planet will further their safety goals, by allowing Malaysia Airlines to track their aircraft anytime, anywhere.”

Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system will offer a global solution that works for all ADS-B Out equipped aircraft everywhere. ADS-B Out mandates have been passed by ANSPs and industry governing bodies around the world, resulting in operators automatically knowing that their aircraft are properly equipped.

The Aireon service will be operational in 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. On January 14, 2017, the first 10 Iridium NEXT satellites carrying the Aireon ADS-B hosted payload were successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In total, the constellation will consist of 66 operational low-earth-orbit satellites providing global coverage. The service will also provide Air Navigation Service Providers with global aircraft surveillance capability, and is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety and enable more efficient flight paths.

 

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