SITA is accelerating innovation in air traffic control (ATC) communications as part of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program, alongside key industry partners including NASA and long-standing airline customer, Etihad.
The program tests pioneering and promising technologies that aim to solve air transport industry challenges for airlines and passengers, as well as enhancing sustainability. The most recent program saw the implementation of such technologies onboard a Boeing 777 and tests a total of 50 different projects.
SITA’s involvement in the program highlights the strength of its SITA FOR AIRCRAFT portfolio, which delivers the promise of the connected aircraft by providing services that enable communication between aircraft, ground systems, ATC and other operators.
SITA is working in collaboration with Honeywell to optimize the transmission of digital information between pilots, ATC and airline operations centers (AOCs) using Internet Protocol Suites (IPS). The technology supports Boeing’s ambition of testing technologies that focus on the enhancement of flight operations and safety, with the potential to drastically improve ATC communications and end-to-end data exchanges.
Following the completion of successful trials, the migration from ACARS protocols to IPS could benefit airlines by offering commonality across mainstream communications channels, as well as next-generation network compatibility and enhanced security.
SITA’s testing of these capabilities, through Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator initiative, has an important role to play in today’s ground-to-air connectivity landscape and the increasing pressure on traditional communications protocols.
The implementation comes as part of SITA’s work to evolve a multilink aircraft communications ecosystem, as a world leader in IPS. Central to this approach is SITA’s ability to integrate multiple networks, both proprietary and third-party, enabling seamless fallback and a vital system that inspires industry-wide confidence.
Mike Sinnett, Vice President of Product Strategy and Future Airplane Development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “It’s exciting to welcome SITA onboard our debut 777 ecoDemonstrator to address some of the challenges facing airline operations and air traffic control. This is a key area in assessing the technologies that will make our skies safer and more efficient, for Boeing, and the wider industry.”
Dominique El Bez, Vice President Product and Strategy, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, said: “Reinforcing flight safety and optimization remain priorities for airlines and air traffic managers. That’s why SITA is working to build and optimize a multilink communications ecosystem. By working with the Boeing ecoDemonstrator to test these solutions faster and with greater fidelity, we hope to continue to develop our end-to-end, fault-resistant solutions for enhanced aircraft communications, whatever the satellite network or connectivity platform.”
SITA FOR AIRCRAFT is one of SITA’s three domains of expertise, alongside SITA AT AIRPORTS and SITA AT BORDERS. These domains of expertise bring together SITA's technology solutions and services with in-depth knowledge of industry processes and systems.