Release

Airservices commences trial to improve aircraft tracking

2 Mar 2015

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss MP, yesterday announced a trial being led by Airservices Australia to more closely track flights in oceanic areas.

Airservices has worked closely with Qantas, Virgin Australia and global satellite provider Inmarsat over the past few months to successfully develop the operational concepts and trial the adaptation of existing surveillance technology.

The trial makes use of existing technology that is fitted to more than 90 per cent of long haul aircraft operating to and from Australia by establishing a minimum 15 minute reporting interval using satellite-based positioning technology called Automatic Dependant Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C).

Airservices CEO Margaret Staib said that “Airservices is committed to working with airlines and industry partners to enhance safety and public confidence in aviation.”

“Airservices also recognises the work being done by ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) and other international bodies to improve aircraft tracking globally and this trial aligns with the recommendations arising from the ICAO High Level Safety Conference earlier this month,” Ms Staib said.

Since 30 January 2015, Qantas and Virgin Australia flights in some oceanic airspace to the east of Australia have been tracked at regular intervals of 10 to 15 minutes as a proof of concept.

Executive General Manager of Air Traffic Control, Greg Hood said “This trial is an immediate step that we can take to improve aircraft tracking and I thank Inmarsat, Qantas and Virgin Australia for their early cooperation.

“We will now work with all our airlines customers and our Indonesian and Malaysian colleagues to trial a 15 minute ADS-C reporting rate for all aircraft that operate in oceanic airspace managed by our three nations and we look forward to sharing our experience with the global aviation community,” Mr Hood said.

Airlines flying over continental Australia are already tracked in real time by radars or continuous position reporting to Airservices ground stations.

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