Thales and L-3 Communications joint venture ACSS has been selected by US Airways as a partner in Eurocontrol's in-trail procedure tests (IPT).

ACSS president Kris Ganase told Flight Daily News that the company has been chosen by US Airways and two other airlines, one of which is a major European carrier.

The ITP Pioneer Programme was launched in May 2009. Participating carriers will use automatic surveillance dependent - broadcast to allow for altitude changes during cruise to cut fuel burn and emissions. Participating airlines are conducting the tests on revenue flights across the Atlantic.

Ganase says aircraft should be equipped for the trials by year-end and tests are likely to start during the first quarter of next year. He expects the trials to last roughly a year.

Participating carriers, Eurocontrol, ACSS and other OEMs involved in the programme are making financial contributions to the programme. Ganase estimates that participating airlines will use four to five aircraft in testing.

US Airways is the exception, however. The carrier is equipping 20 Airbus A330s with the ACSS SafeRoute ADS-B suite as part of a larger agreement it reached with the US Federal Aviation Administration and ACSS in late 2008 to test ADS-B at the its Philadelphia hub.

Ganase explains the ITP tests are important to demonstrate an immediate benefit to carriers, and Eurocontrol is evaluating signing a second batch of airlines in 2011.

Overall, Ganase expects a positive vibe at the show, preceded by recently announced narrowbody production increases by Airbus and Boeing.

Even though Airbus unveiled an order for 32 A380s at May's ILA air show in Berlin, he thinks the airframer "will have something in its back pocket" at Farnborough.

Source: Flight Daily News