SAO PAULO – GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A., the largest low-cost and low-fare airline in Latin America, is adopting a new communications and operational management system with global coverage based on the Iridium satellite network. The new technology, which allows the exchange of information in real time via voice and text message, is linked to the Company’s ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) and can be used as an operational management tool.
The ACARS via Iridium system provides the Company with several benefits: strengthening reliability and operational safety and offering better control of aircraft performance during flight, as well as trimming costs by reducing aircraft weight and streamlining the daily management of the air network. “This type of communications system is the future in airspace management,” declared Fernando Rockert de Magalhaes, GOL’s Technical Vice-President. “It will become increasingly common for pilots and air traffic controllers to communicate through a mixture of voice and text messages, which will ensure greater safety and allow for more efficient cost management,” he added.
The Iridium satellite network functions over 100% of the globe, ensuring reliable and accurate communications between all the different parties making up the air traffic system. The new system will bolster existing resources for integrating the Company’s technical teams (in-flight and on-land) by complementing traditional radio communications. Another system, which is also part of GOL’s ACARS, will enable text messages to be exchanged with air traffic control, further complementing radio communications.
In addition to boosting operational safety, GOL’s Iridium-based ACARS allows the Company to transmit data during flights, thereby making daily operations faster and more flexible. “We will have real-time access to the main aircraft data, such as distance flown, flight time remaining and fuel levels,” explained Adalberto Bosan, GOL’s Operations Control Officer. “Thanks to this information, we will be able to effect changes or replacements in aircraft programming and route operations with more precision and speed,” he added.
In addition, the new ACARS will lead reduce aircraft weight by substituting the printed manuals currently carried on all flights with new data storage technology. “Less weight means more fuel efficiency,” explained Rockert. “The new system reinforces our priority commitment to operational safety, at the same time providing tools that ensure more efficient operations and, consequently, increased control over costs,” he added
Instead of a set of books, pilots can now rely on the Electronic Flight Bag, which functions like a portable on-board electronic library. Easy to use and with a user-friendly interface, its cutting-edge technology allows all the teams involved to receive real-time updates every time an operating procedure is revised.
The equipment and software have been exhaustively tested in the laboratories of Avionica, the system’s Miami-based American supplier. The system has also undergone extensive testing in GOL’s operational areas and will be installed in the Company’s fleet as of January 2010, when the aircraft undergo routine maintenance procedures at the Company’s Maintenance Center in Cofins (MG). Certified in 2008 by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), the system was included in Standards and Recommended Practices, a conjunction of non-mandatory, but recommended, measures by the global aviation regulatory body.