SITA today announced that Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar and voted one of the top three airlines in the world in 2010 by passengers in the Skytrax World Airline Survey, has agreed to a new three-year communications deal with SITA.
This announcement comes at a time of significant expansion for the five-star carrier with continued deliveries of Boeing 777 and Airbus A320 family aircraft, and as it prepares to introduce the Boeing 787.
Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said, “Over the next three years our fleet will expand from over 80 aircraft today to 120, including the Boeing 787. This growth needs to be supported by a partner who is leading the way when it comes to use of satellite and ground communications between the cockpit and the control tower.
SITA was the first to utilise the new 4th generation Inmarsat satellites for this purpose and we are confident that SITA can support our expansion which includes the introduction of six new long-haul routes this year.”
SITA was recently first to implement an aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) service for air traffic control communications via the new 4th generation Inmarsat satellites that provide the SwiftBroadband service used by SITA/Airbus joint venture OnAir to provide in-flight mobile phone service. This is already in use on Qatar Airways A320’s.
Hani El Assaad, SITA regional vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “SITA provides aircraft cockpit data communication via a network of VHF stations across the world including all the Gulf States as well as via the Inmarsat satellites.
The service provides access to the expanding number of Air Traffic Control agencies that have begun to use aircraft data link to optimize flight routes. Our new AIRCOM IP service will also be securely integrated into the Qatar Airways IT environment. We are very pleased at the confidence that this outstanding airline has shown in SITA.”