UK air traffic control service NATS has selected SITA and France's Egis Avia to provide the necessary technology to enable it to meet the European Commission's 2013 deadline for implementing controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) across Europe.
The Commission requires western European air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to equip their air traffic control centres with datalink systems by 2013 as part of its plan to implement the Single European Sky initiative.
Aircraft operators using this airspace will be required to install datalink avionics by 2015.
SITA and Egis Avia will supply NATS with a datalink front-end processor and Pro-ATN routers, which NATS will deploy at its Swanwick and Prestwick area control centres and its Whiteley corporate and technical centre.
The technology will enable the NATS air traffic control system to seamlessly communicate with future air navigation systems- and aeronautical telecommunication network-equipped aircraft.
"The new datalink system is planned to be operational in early 2013, in line with the European implementing rule," says NATS senior programme manager Allan Robb.