The European members of oneworld®, the leading quality global airline alliance – British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Malév Hungarian Airlines – have announced the selection of SITA to provide voice and data services across their combined fleet of more than 450 aircraft, including the VHF data link mandated by EU Single Sky regulations for air traffic control (ATC) communications.
The five-year agreement, which follows a joint evaluation by the four airline partners, will take them past the EU deadline of February 2015, which requires all aircraft flying in Europe, and all EU air navigation service providers, to be equipped to use ATC data link. This ATC usage will add a new dimension to the airlines’ existing use of the SITA data link services for their own internal communications.
In addition to the SITA VHF data services, the airlines will be able to use satellite services including Inmarsat Classic, Swift Broadband and Iridium, for operational and passenger use.
British Airways, Iberia and Malév have renewed their existing SITA VHF data link services. Finnair will be switching VHF and satellite communications to SITA while Iberia will also switch to SITA for its satellite communications.
Iberia’s finance and control director, José María Fariza, speaking on behalf of all four oneworld European airlines, said: “While working on this agreement, we and the other European members of oneworld sought to leverage our alliance partnership to get the best cost / benefit balance for our aircraft communications requirements. With SITA we have achieved an arrangement that ensures we will have the services we need to optimize our businesses. SITA’s ability to understand our commercial needs while guaranteeing the service quality we need for ATC communications both now and in the future made SITA the best choice.”
Philip Clinch, vice president aircraft solutions, SITA, said: “SITA has been working on the ICAO ATN and VDL services mandated by the EU regulation for 20 years. These contracts with the oneworld member airlines are among the first to stretch into the period when all that work will be rewarded by seeing aircraft use data link to increase airspace capacity and reduce delays. SITA’s selection by British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Malév shows the value of our close work with the air traffic control community.”
SITA’s network of VHF ground stations has developed steadily since 1984, and currently includes more than 1,200 stations in more than 160 countries. As the air transport communications specialist, SITA facilitates the exchange of more than one million ACARS messages per day and supports over 200 contracted customer airlines with more than 11,500 individual aircraft in routine airline operation.
Together British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Malév, carry more than 70 million passengers and serve more than 200 destinations worldwide.