Bahrain Selects SITA Data Link Systems to Enhance Air Traffic Safety

Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Affairs (BCAA) has contracted SITA to deliver air/ground data link systems aimed at enhancing air traffic safety at Manama International Airport and in airspace under its control.

The first SITA system to be delivered will enable text-based departure clearances to be issued by air traffic control (ATC) to departing aircraft via SITA’s AIRCOM data link service and is being deployed in response to ICAO recommendations to enhance ATC operations at airports. The system minimizes the risk of any misunderstanding between ATC that may occur with today’s voice-based delivery of departure clearances.

The second SITA system to be delivered, known as FANS 1/A, will enable en-route air traffic controllers to exchange text-based communications with pilots operating aircraft in Bahrain’s upper airspace and will also enable air traffic controllers to contract the aircraft to downlink its position information on a periodic basis via SITA’s AIRCOM satellite data link service as a means to achieve airspace surveillance in areas beyond radar coverage.

The FANS system is being deployed in response to Bahrain’s commitment to support the Arabian Civil Aviation Conference FANS Implementation Group (AFIG) which is coordinating the implementation of these services across the ACAC region.

Ali Ahmed Mohammed, director of air navigation and civil aviation affairs, said: “This initiative comes in the context of our efforts to continuously keep our controlled airspace safe and efficient for the travelling public and our customer airlines. By complementing our existing digital airport terminal information service with departure clearance at Bahrain International Airport and FANS services at our en-route air traffic control centre, we will be offering a state-of-the-art service enabled by SITA’s data link communications service.

“These services will significantly enhance the services provided by the CAA to aircraft flying in our controlled airspace and comply with the recommendations of the Middle East ICAO planning and implementation regional group.”

Akhil Sharma, SITA’s head of air traffic management, said: “With the increase in air traffic movements in this region significantly outstripping the global average, Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Affairs [department] is to be complimented for their foresight in implementing the complete set of current digital data link air traffic systems. These services will contribute to enhancing air traffic safety in Bahrain airspace and set the standard for the region as a whole.”

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