As part of a major air traffic management modernisation programme in advance of hosting the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, the Brazilian Department of Airspace Control (DECEA) has announced that SITA has been chosen to update Brazil’s entire network infrastructure dedicated to air-ground VHF data link (VDL) communication.
The agreement with SITA, the air transport communications specialist, includes the operation of the service until 2030 and is the first concession contract awarded by DECEA for such a complex and essential service to civil aviation in Brazil.
SITA has a long relationship with DECEA: it provided key components of the first generation VHF data link network deployed in Brazil the 1990s; supplied the first aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) processor platform; and later implemented the first air traffic services using data link technology, which allows DECEA to monitor all traffic operating in the Atlantic Ocean airspace.
Brigadier Ramon Borges Cardoso, director general, DECEA, said: “DECEA is extremely pleased and impressed with the professionalism and technical qualifications in which SITA responded to our requirements for the new data link system.
“This engagement further enhances our confidence in SITA as a trusted partner as we continue to modernise the air traffic control infrastructure in preparation for Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, and the overall future growth of the country’s air transport system.”
In the future, all air traffic control data link communications will use an ICAO standard Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN) protocol. These ATN communications are designed to share the same aircraft VDL systems, radio links and ground stations as ACARS airline operations communications, minimising the investment needed from airlines. Single European Sky regulations mandate aircraft to use ATN in Europe from 2015 and DECEA is now preparing for adoption in Brazil.
Norbert Steiger, SITA regional vice president, Latin America and Caribbean, said: “SITA has partnered with DECEA for 15 years and together we are realising an ambitious project to provide airline users in Brazil with the most sophisticated communication services available. This includes the use of more than 50 new VDL Mode 2 ground stations and the latest ATN-compliant technology.”
The new system will replace the current DATACOM system and will be used by DECEA to enable the exchange of air traffic control data link messages between aircraft and air traffic control systems, as well as between airlines and their airline operational centers.
The project includes the complete modernisation of all network components, such as circuits and radio stations, and the expansion of airspace coverage. It will be the basis for state of the art data link communications service to ACARS-equipped aircraft currently operating in Brazil and also for next generation ATN technology. The end result will provide controllers and pilots with better tools and automation to deliver a significant increase in safety and efficiency in Brazilian skies.