The connected aircraft is here, says Inmarsat

17 / 04 / 2018

Inmarsat says that the new SB-S satellite IP platform contract signed with SwiftBroadband-Safety heralds the age of the ‘connected aircraft’ and will unlock a range of digital intelligence for airlines.

Described as the first and only global, secure, broadband platform for operations and safety communications, it will, said the global mobile satellite company, transform the role of satcom from a safety utility to a key source of strategic value.

The platform will enable range of value-added applications and real-time data to drive decision-making and improve operational efficiency while assuring the highest levels of safety.

SB-S’s commercial service introduction follows in-flight evaluation on Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 767-300 aircraft and installations on the airline’s entire Airbus A321neo fleet. SB-S is also undergoing flight evaluation with United Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines, and has been selected by Airbus as a Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) solution for its A320 and A330 families.

Inmarsat Aviation vice president of safety and operational services, Captain Mary McMillan, said: “With SB-S in commercial service, the aviation industry can now fully realise the benefits of the connected aircraft - driving greater efficiency in airline operations, while leading the way for the future of aviation safety. We are excited to see the real-world impact that SB-S will have on aviation efficiency and safety in the months and years to come.”

Inmarsat says that SB-S can reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions through its Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications, including real-time weather reports, optimised profile descent and trajectory-based operations.

It also offers a ‘Black Box in the Cloud’ service to improve safety and recovery.

It also delivers aircraft health and performance information to the ground in real time, improving predictive maintenance and assisting in quick fault resolution for faster on-the-ground turnaround.

SB-S also serves as the platform for Iris, a ground-breaking programme with the European Space Agency (ESA) that will enable 4D trajectory air traffic management which is expected over Europe by 2020.