A new study released by Helios and Inmarsat has revealed that the use of satellite communication (Satcom) in aircraft cockpits has saved airlines more than $3bn.

Conducted by Helios, the study evaluated the benefit of Satcom to airlines between 2001 and 2016.

Satcom uses satellites to provide voice and data services, which enable communication with aircraft outside the range of conventional ground radar and very high frequency (VHF) stations, such as over oceanic regions.

According to the study, the use of a single air traffic control (ATC) benefit mechanism allows aircraft to fly closer to each other, which has saved $890m.

Enabling aircraft to travel closer to each other increases airspace capacity and allows pilots to select routes that save time and fuel.

"This study shows how satellite communication has already done so much to improve the safety and efficiency of the skies."

Satcom currently enables aircraft to fly within 30 nautical miles of each other due to its safe, reliable communication and tracking capabilities.

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Inmarsat Aviation Safety and Operational Services vice-president Mary McMillan said: “This study shows how satellite communication has already done so much to improve the safety and efficiency of the skies.

“With the arrival of IP-based applications and new data-hungry cockpits, secured Satcom enables cloud computing and sensor fusion and delivers a step-change in critical safety data, as well as improved operational performance of today’s fleets.

“The potential to enhance the safety and efficiency of air travel is unlimited.”

In addition, the system has allowed aircraft to communicate directly with their airline operations centre (AOC), saving a further $1.9bn.

AOC communication uses real-time data that enables airlines to enhance flight safety as well as offer efficient services at lower costs.

Furthermore, the study claimed that broadband connectivity will assist with urgent ATC demands caused by a rapid rise of air traffic movements.