FAA selects SITA’s FANS-1/A-based datalink solution to manage United States’ vast oceanic airspace

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In August 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded the Oceanic Data Link (ODL) contract to SITA, a leading IT provider to the air transport industry, to provide its Future Air Navigation System (FANS-1/A)-based datalink solutions for the management of air traffic across the United States’ vast oceanic airspace. SITA’s proven solution will be vital in supporting accurate, real-time communication between pilots and air traffic controllers across the world’s busiest oceanic airspace, supporting safer and efficient flights.

Air traffic controllers operating from the FAA’s bases in Anchorage, New York and Oakland will be able to send up to 1,200 messages per hour – including multiple messages concurrently – vastly speeding up communication with aircraft when compared to older datalink solutions. This will help controllers better detect conflicts between aircraft and offer more optimal routings for aircraft.

Using SITA’s Automatic-Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) and Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) managed services, pilots and air traffic controllers can communicate directly using standardised digital text messages that appear on an aircraft’s control display unit. These text messages, sent via SITA’s ATC Datalink Service, provide aircraft position, route, requests and guidance for routing, speed and altitude changes, as well as weather and traffic advisories. They are visible to all flight crew as they are sent.

The oceanic airspace links the United States to Europe and Asia, covering 62.4-million square kilometres of airspace. The North Atlantic is by far the world’s busiest oceanic air traffic route, with about 2,000 aircraft crossing the ocean between the east coast of the United States and Europe every day. Despite a COVID-induced downturn, traffic on this route is predicted to increase by 50% over the next decade.

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