Inmarsat SB-S approved by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration

Inmarsat has received final approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its SB-S digital airline operations and safety platform.

The FAA has validated the capability of Inmarsat SB-S to support air traffic services by providing direct datalink communication between pilots and Air Traffic Control (ATC). The letter of approval highlights the future potential of this ‘first-of-its-kind’ service, stating that SB-S technology “provides diversity and potential for advances of capability that will further maximise operational benefits and ensure safety”. The endorsement follows a recommendation last year from the FAA’s Performance Based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC).

FAA approval follows an extensive live evaluation of SB-S by Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines, which took place between June 2015 and July 2018 on approximately 25,000 flights and seven aircraft types. Inmarsat partners in the evaluation included Cobham Aerospace Communications, Collins Aerospace, SITAONAIR, ASG and L2. China’s Shenzhen Airlines is also using SB-S and Inmarsat’s digital airline operations platform has been selected by Airbus as a Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) line fit solution on its A320 and A330 families.

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