Air Astana has selected air transport communications and IT specialist, SITA, to provide messaging for operations, communications with partners and advanced datalink for air traffic control. The deal comes as Kazakhstan's flag carrier prepares for future growth, following a 13.5 percent traffic increase in 2013.
In recent years, Air Astana has expanded rapidly across the CIS and Central Asian regions, becoming the travel provider of choice for many passengers flying to and from the region. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Kazakhstan's international passenger traffic is growing at 9% annually, making it the second fastest-growing market in the world.
Chamindra Lenawa, Vice President IT & eBusiness, Air Astana, said: "As Air Astana continues its growth, it is important that we have the right infrastructure in place. We use SITA because it offers excellent service quality and global coverage. Most importantly, because SITA is owned and operated by the air transport industry, the SITA team understands and responds to our needs very well."
Dmitry Krasnov, SITA Vice President of Russia and CIS, said: "We are delighted to help support Air Astana's expansion in this rapidly growing region. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that both Air Astana and the region have the IT and communications services they need, including developing our VHF and satellite communications network for cockpit datalink applications."
SITA Type B Messaging underpins every operational aspect of air transport, from commercial and flight operations to ground support, baggage and cargo handling, passenger services, booking availability and aircraft maintenance. SITA operates the largest messaging network, directly connecting to over 2,400 members of the air transport community, switching over 100 million messages every day.
SITA's AIRCOM Cockpit Datalink applications provide enhanced visibility and management of aircraft communications links and ACARS message content. They also provide operational information during flights, increasing the total benefit of ACARS investment. For example, in addition to the air traffic management datalink, Air Astana is using SITA's Flight Management System Wind Uplink. This provides key data to the aircraft flight management system for in-flight re-analysis of weather conditions on the route ahead and can deliver savings in the region of 100Kg of fuel per flight in normal conditions. SITA will also provide the relevant back-office network optimization services for both solutions.
SITA is constantly developing its VHF coverage to support the AIRCOM Cockpit Datalink applications. It already has VHF Ground Stations at both Almaty and Astana airports, and will soon have them at Aktau and Atyrau airports, providing the most comprehensive network in the Kazakhstan.