NAV Portugal, the air navigation service provider for Portuguese airspace, has partnered with air transport communications provider SITA to implement the data link infrastructure required to comply with the EU regulations for the Single European Sky, which come into force this month.
The regulation mandates that Western European air navigation service providers and airlines implement Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC). The move is estimated by EUROCONTROL to enable an increase of 11% of air traffic capacity in Western Europe and a 29% reduction of the work load of the air traffic controllers.
Under the ten-year agreement with NAV Portugal, SITA will provide the air/ground data link communication infrastructure to enable CPDLC service in NAV Portugal's upper airspace. It will use VHF Data Link Mode 2 (VDLm2) and Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) technology as mandated by the European regulation. The infrastructure includes eight VHF Ground Stations and SITA's AIRCOM Monitoring System. These stations will service both air traffic control and airline operational communications in the Portuguese airspace.
Carlos Antonio Alves, Director, NAV Portugal, said: "NAV Portugal has been a SITA customer for many years and SITA has proven ability to provide the complete air/ground communication infrastructure. SITA is providing us an end-to-end service from the aircraft antenna to the interface to the ground air traffic control systems, ensuring consistent and integrated services."
Philip Clinch, SITA Vice President, Aircraft Communications, said: "This partnership is well underway with many of the NAV Portugal ground stations already deployed. We have drawn on our experience from similar partnerships that we established with air navigation service providers across Europe including in Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland, and are confident that this too will be a win-win for NAV Portugal and SITA."
CPDLC enables pilots and air traffic controllers to exchange certain routine air traffic control messages via data link replacing the traditional means of communication over radio that have been used in the industry for more than 50 years. With CPDLC safety will be enhanced thanks to the replacement of congested, bad-quality voice channels by data channels where messages are unambiguous and available on screen in the cockpit.