Airservices will assess space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) as part of ongoing efforts by the air navigation service provider to look for ways to improve service and efficiency for its airline customers.
It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement by Airservices and Aireon, a company working to create a platform capable of tracking ADS-B equipped aircraft around the globe in real-time via satellite by 2018.
ADS-B is an air traffic surveillance technology that enables aircraft to be accurately tracked by air traffic controllers and other pilots without the need for conventional radar.
The space-based system is planned to facilitate smooth transition between the world’s flight information regions while lowering ground infrastructure costs, costs to airlines and improving safety.
Airservices Executive General Manager Air Traffic Control, Greg Hood, said that Australia was the first country in the world to commission a continent-wide ADS-B surveillance system and had been using ADS-B for more than a decade.
“We are interested in examining how space-based ADS-B could potentially be used in the future and will work with Aireon to determine the potential safety benefits of the technology and efficiency benefits it may offer for our customers, especially for oceanic services and in cross-boundary coordination with our neighbours,” Mr Hood said.
“There is potential for space-based ADS-B to offer value not only to Airservices, but for all of our customer airlines, airports and search and rescue teams and we are keen to explore that in further detail.”
Currently, 99.5 per cent of all commercial flights in Australian airspace at or above 29 000 feet are done using ADS-B. More than 60 per cent of Australia-based Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) aircraft have been fitted with the technology.
“Airservices has long been a leader in investing in new technology to improve efficiency and increase safety for our airline customers,” Mr Hood said.
“We are pleased to be at the forefront in investigating the potential future benefits of space-based ADS-B to gain an understanding of how it may be applied in Australia in the future.”