SITA, the global IT provider for the air transport industry, is helping Cyprus comply with an EU-mandated air traffic control (ATC) standard that uses digital messages instead of voice communications for routine airspace clearances.
As a member state of the European Union, Cyprus must provide Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) in its upper airspace. Cyprus will be the first country in southeastern Europe to implement CPDLC using ATN/VDLm2 technology as of October 2021.
Cyprus relies on SITA's ATC Datalink Services for the safe operation of CPDLC in its airspace
The Cyprus Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) have chosen SITA's ATC Datalink Services to support the efficient and safe operation of CPDLC in Cyprus' airspace, which covers a land and sea surface of 175,000 km2.
DCA's Haris Antoniades, Head of Area Control Center Nicosia, said: "SITA provides complete VHF coverage of our airspace, including the maritime area, and ensures that the air/ground data exchange meets the stringent performance requirements of modern ATC operations. The new set-up allows dynamic routing of ATC messages between Cyprus' ground control center and aircraft flying in the Cyprus airspace or its vicinity. In terms of CPDLC compliance, we are closing an important gap in European airspace.”
Pre-COVID-19, Cyprus recorded 412,000 aircraft movements per year in its airspace.
ATN/VDLm2 supports air/ground communication for the exchange of CPDLC messages
Sébastien Fabre, CEO SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, explained: "By deploying SITA's ATN/VDLm2 solution, the Cyprus Department of Civil Aviation is using the best option for a seamless CPDLC service – and for complying with the European Implementing Rule on Data Link Services. VHF/VDL still is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, the most suitable technology to provide high-availability, high-performance, and cost-efficient ATC data link services.”
SITA operates 2,000 Very High Frequency (VHF) and VHF Data Link (VDL) radio stations globally, and more than 90 air navigation service providers use its global network or systems. As the industry leader in establishing and evolving aircraft communications services, SITA deploys the latest technologies, protocols, and standards. This includes a complete multi-frequency ATN/VDLm2 (mode 2) network in European airspace so that network loads can be distributed efficiently.
To cover Cyprus' airspace, SITA is adding two new VDLm2 ground stations in Larnaca and Paphos to its existing VHF stations. SITA is also supplying the ATN (Aeronautical Telecommunication Network) ground router (based on Thales' ProATN) and connecting to its AIRCOM® ATC services via the pan-European NewPENS ATC network.
CPDLC increases airspace safety and capacity, reduces air traffic controller workload
CPDLC is a means of communication between air traffic controllers and pilots to exchange routine ATC clearance messages in digital format. Controllers can issue clearances (e.g., flight level and speed assignments), assign radio frequencies, and request information. Pilots, via their cockpit display, can respond to the messages or request information themselves.
The two-way data link system CPDLC enhances safety, as messages are unequivocal and sent only to the intended aircraft, avoiding potential voice-related misunderstandings. CPDLC reduces the volume of traditional ATC voice communications, freeing the latter one up for urgent messages, and controllers can handle more pilot requests simultaneously. According to a Eurocontrol study, the use of CPDLC can reduce controller workload by 29% and increase the airspace capacity by 11%.