Italian air navigation service provider ENAV has adopted a digital ground-air-ground communications system called Data-Link to be used across the complete Italian airspace above 8,700m.

Data-Link is designed to send data on the console of an air traffic controller to a display in the aircraft cockpit and vice-versa.

The area control centres, which are used by ENAV to manage flights over Italian airspace or at a domestic airport, will be able to use the digital system to automatically share important information.

“Data-Link represents the most revolutionary tool, in terms of aeronautical telecommunications.”

ENAV noted that Data-Link can help air traffic control in Italian airspace, which exchanges about 30 million verbal communications per year. The majority of this exchange will now be delivered electronically.

The digital interactions are expected to be smoother and more efficient with full intelligibility, resulting in better safety and operating performance.

A statement by ENAV read: “Data-Link represents the most revolutionary tool, in terms of aeronautical telecommunications, within the range of technical / operational instruments that the aviation world will develop to manage these traffic dynamics.

“It will change the current well-established ‘modus operandi’ with the aim of contributing towards an increasingly efficient air transport system which will also be safer, which is the ultimate goal of any change in the sector.”

The company deployed Data-Link gradually after significant investments and around ten years of testing, as well as operational staff training.

To support the new digital feature, ENAV opened 19 ground-based, data communication stations and installed new software on every work air traffic controller station.