China’s latest aviation safety services deal paves the way for next-generation technology

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/19 23:28:39

In an indication of the strength of China's economy, even amid cooling growth and unprecedented restructuring, the country's aviation market now outpaces many of its global peers. But when it comes to air safety management, the country needs to catch up to the fast pace of airline and passenger growth in its industry.

With passenger traffic expected to double over the next 20 years and an overall upgrade to the international air traffic management system through satellite technology, this jet lag in safety management that many regions of the world face will be eased. 

China's aviation market, which is now one of the world's largest, is increasingly intertwined with global markets that place an emphasis on aviation safety in the wake of incidents in recent years. Consequently, this has been a contributing driver to the improvement of safety and operational effectiveness in civil air transport.

In mid-September, China's Beijing Marine Communication and Navigation Company and Aviation Data Communication Corporation inked an aviation safety services agreement with Inmarsat, which will offer cockpit communication services from the London-based satellite telecommunications company - which has provided data in the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 - in the Chinese market.

This partnership will help lay the groundwork for setting up a SwiftBroadband-Safety infrastructure - a well-known flight deck communications platform offering global, high-speed, IP connectivity for the cockpit - for China, enabling the next generation of secure broadband safety and operational services to be offered in China's airspace. With continuous positional awareness and flight data streaming, this system delivers a new world of flight deck applications that offer enhanced safety, efficiency and operational performance benefits for airlines and airspace authorities. As a consequence, regulators, air navigation service providers and airlines are expected to fully benefit from the increased capacity and enhanced safety enabled by broadband services.

As a fast growing market with sizeable airspace, the availability of this flight tracking capability is of vital importance for China. It should be noted that interoperability is key, therefore there is the risk that solutions being proposed by various vendors may become too specific to work in other airspaces. 

Thanks to work performed by the International Civil Aviation Organization, we know that the provision of Air Traffic Management lies in the successful implementation of several concepts and technologies that will need to be capable of functioning together in a collaborative manner.

The added bonus for Chinese airlines is that greater capacity in communications will create opportunities for new applications to improve flight safety, allow for more efficient and streamlined service and savings through more precise performance and fuel monitoring. It is anticipated that the next-generation technology will help China meet regulatory standards such as the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System implementation and the Air Operator's Certificate voice mandate.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Li Qiaoyi based on an interview with Otto Gergye, vice president of Airline Market Development at Inmarsat Aviation.

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