Europe's Oneworld members sign joint deal with SITA

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Oneworld's four European member airlines have selected SITA to provide voice and data services across their 450-strong combined fleets.

British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Malev made their decision following a joint evaluation, says SITA.

The five-year contract includes the VHF datalink mandated by the European Union's Single European Sky programme.

It aims to save bandwidth by passing routine messages between controllers and flight crews by datalink, with messages shown on the crews' multi-function displays, rather than by voice communications.

By February 2015 all aircraft flying in EU airspace and all EU air navigation service providers must be capable of handling these datalink communications. The airlines already use datalink for their own internal company communications.

BA, Iberia and Malev have renewed their existing SITA VHF datalink services. Finnair will be switching its VHF and satellite communications to the Geneva-based company, while Iberia will also switch for its satellite communications.

Speaking for the four airlines, Iberia's finance and control director Jose Maria Fariza says: "We and the other European members of Oneworld sought to leverage our alliance partnership to get the best cost/benefit for our aircraft communications requirements."