At a recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference on global navigation and oceanic operations, IBAC director general Donald Spruston outlined worldwide corporate activities to a primarily airline-oriented audience. He stressed his organization’s continuing need to be involved in the development of oceanic standards and procedures and in the implementation and planning process.
Controller Pilot Data Link Communications
At the ICAO Assembly in Montreal–where all the world’s aviation representatives gathered last month to review outstanding issues–there was general agreement that the lack of uniform international rules for fractional operations should be resolved.
“Aviation is emerging from the most difficult period in its history to date. This recovery is still fragile. It is under pressure from fuel costs, uncertain stability in regions, military conflicts, international terrorism and changes in the business model by low-cost carriers.
Aircraft operators have been forced to add new technology to meet updated requirements since the 1950s, but nothing ever seems to come off aircraft, one air traffic expert noted recently.
The FAA later this year will begin asking avionics makers to submit bids for competitive contracts to produce prototype radio interface units (RIU) and ground network interface units (GNIU) for demonstrations of the next-generation air/ground communications (Nexcom) program. FAA’s Nexcom program office is overseeing the transition to the future digital voice/data VHF radios, paving the way for controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC).
Citing budget constraints, senior FAA management has apparently postponed the planned expansion of controller/pilot data link communications (CPDLC) trials beyond the present activity at the Miami ARTCC, AIN has learned. Industry sources report that the decision was based on the high costs of controller manpower.
Effective October 1, the FAA’s trials of controller/pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) at Miami will be no more. Citing high costs and limited operator participation, agency officials have decided to discontinue the trials until nationwide implementation can be achieved following completion of the en route automation modernization (ERAM) program, which is estimated to occur between 2009 and 2011.
Boeing Business Jet operators are being invited to join an airborne trial of controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) over the North Atlantic as part of an evaluation by airlines of future air navigation system (FANS) concepts.
Sharp rises in the number of airline flights originating from airports in the U.S. and Europe are presenting FAA and Eurocontrol officials with some daunting challenges. Chief among these is the question of how to squeeze more capacity from airports and ATC route systems that in some places already seem stretched to the breaking point.
It is no secret that the FAA in the last several months has been forced to shelve a number of important ATC modernization projects. But now a blunt assessment by Department of Transportation inspector general Kenneth Mead accuses the agency of misjudging the technological maturity of the canceled programs and failing to gauge their true costs.