SITA has announced the successful initiation of a series of operational trials at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to demonstrate the benefits of its planned AIRCOM IP GateLink service for new generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and newer variants of the Boeing 777.
Gatelink is the airline industry standard name for aircraft use of airport WiFi to connect into ground networks. SITA and Hub Telecom, working in collaboration with Aeroports de Paris (ADP) and a major international carrier, set up the WiFi infrastructure, which A380 aircraft have successfully used to complete broadband wireless communications sessions during routine turnarounds.
This major milestone adds CDG to a growing list of important airports, including Sydney and London Heathrow, where AIRCOM IP GateLink trials are underway to evaluate the technical, operational and commercial aspects of offering this service on a wider scale for all parties involved. The trials are showing the value of the Gatelink systems included in the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and newer variants of the Boeing 777.
Once deployed at an airport, AIRCOM IP GateLink provides broadband wireless connectivity on the ground during aircraft turnarounds and layovers allowing airlines and airports to take full advantage of the operational benefits of these new aircraft types. It automates labour-intensive and time-consuming processes to retrieve and load large volumes of aircraft systems’ data, which cannot be transmitted cost-efficiently using traditional data link services such as aircraft communication addressing and reporting system (ACARS).
At CDG, the Hub Telecom team worked in close partnership with SITA. They demonstrated delivery excellence in every aspect of this project providing flawless end-to-end support throughout the deployment of the new Gatelink solution.
Philip Clinch, SITA vice president aircraft services, said: “Airlines are increasingly expressing interest in worldwide access to airports’ wireless infrastructure to communicate with their back-office systems, indeed the use of ground-based broadband wireless communications to improve airline operations and reduce costs has long been a desire of airlines. Our goal is to enable its use with new generation aircraft outside airlines’ own hubs, which requires a great deal of third-party coordination and collaboration.”
SITA eliminates the complexities associated with airlines having to deal individually with local airport authorities and wireless network operators to secure access. SITA is actively pursuing discussions with airlines and airports around the world to increase the cross-section of participants and locations of the AIRCOM IP GateLink trials and welcomes other airlines willing to participate to build up momentum.