Airlines operating in the Central American Flight Information Region, covering Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, will have the support of data link technology for aircraft surveillance and communications between pilots and air traffic control from early 2013. This follows an agreement between air transport communications specialist SITA and Corporacion Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea (COCESNA).
COCESNA, is the body responsible for the provision of air navigation services in the airspace over these five Central American states. Through its Central Agency for Air Navigation Services (ACNA), it has selected SITA as its data link service provider for the delivery of Future Air Navigation Services (FANS) such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC). These are two services which have been proven to increase the safety and efficiency of flights.
Lic. Ramón de Jésus Romero, CEO of COCESNA, said: "This service will benefit all carriers with FANS-equipped aircraft operating in our airspace over Central America. It allows COCESNA to gain experience on data link communications and to optimize air traffic management and communication in the oceanic portion of our air space, which is vital for the air traffic flow between North and South America. We look forward to kicking off the trial and are pleased to be working with SITA in this important development for aviation in our region."
Philip Clinch, SITA Vice President Aircraft Solutions, said: "This important flight region covers all traffic between North and South America and SITA is delighted to be selected by COCESNA to contribute to the increased safety and efficiency of its air traffic management services here. As the preferred data link service provider for Latin America’s ANSPs, we at SITA are committed to facilitate the pragmatic evolution of the global air navigation service towards the ICAO-defined CNS/ATM system."
The decision to introduce FANS services in the Central America Flight Information Region, to be operated from CENAMER Area Control Center located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is fully aligned with COCESNA’s strategic objectives to strengthen safety and consolidate communication resources for the benefit of its airspace users.
ADS-C provides surveillance services in remote oceanic areas where radar is not available or radio voice communications are poor and not fully reliable. Aircraft with the ADS-C application automatically transmit their identity, position, altitude and other information at periodic intervals to air traffic management systems on the ground over satellite data link and this information is visualized in a display, providing precise aircraft tracking information to air traffic controllers.
CPDLC replaces routine voice communications between crew and air traffic controllers with a form of communications similar to email. Studies have found that the availability of this second communications channel reduces communication errors caused by factors such as very high traffic levels, poor voice quality, fatigue or simultaneous transmissions.
FANS applications from Boeing (FANS/1) and Airbus (FANS/A) are certified and currently used by over 1,200 aircraft in the world.
COCESNA will issue an announcement when they make FANS services available for all aircraft using Central America’s airspace under its responsibility.