The UAE’s national airline Etihad Airways has successfully implemented the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System, GADSS, recommendations for flight tracking ahead of the General Civil Aviation Authority’s, GCAA’s, proposed deadline of 1 June 2019.
With an ICAO completion date of 8 November 2018, Etihad Airways not only met the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System recommendation of tracking its flights with position updates every 15 minutes under normal conditions, but also at the frequency of once-per minute when an aircraft is in distress – exceeding a component of ICAO’s 2021 requirements.
In partnership with SITA, Etihad Airways has achieved this superior capability with the adoption of SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker system, which utilises FlightAware data services to provide the precise position, speed and altitude of the airlines airborne fleet worldwide.
FlightAware integrates global aircraft position data from the Aireon space-based automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) system, hosted on the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The Aireon space-based ADS-B system provides universal coverage of ADS-B equipped aircraft, with positions updated at least once per minute globally, enabling Etihad Airways to modernise its flight tracking capabilities across the entire globe.
John Wright, Vice President Network Operations, Etihad Airways said, “Safety of our guests and crew at Etihad Airways remains our number one priority. Implementing this technology across our entire network is an exciting and ground-breaking milestone and we’re thrilled to have achieved this before the local mandate is in full effect.”
As an international airline operating across some areas with limited ground-based receivers and air traffic surveillance, Etihad Airways now has comprehensive coverage, eliminating gaps over the oceanic regions, large parts of the African continent and polar airspace.
“In addition to the provision of real-time 4D aircraft positions, the technology offers other insightful capabilities to both anticipate and avoid adverse weather conditions and optimise fuel efficiency,” added Mr. Wright.
Also, by leveraging existing onboard ADS-B OUT technology, Etihad Airways is able to operate this new flight tracking system without the need to install new equipment on its aircraft.