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World’s secondf-oldest airline uses satellite phones for navigation

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Avianca Airlines of Columbia is installing an Iridium-based communications module on its fleet of 14 long-range Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft. Avianca is the oldest airline in the Americas and the world’s second-oldest.

South America’s topography causes HF signal reflections which lead to gaps in service availability. During inclement weather, these gaps restrict non-stop flights, resulting in delays as well as increased technical and labour costs.
“The Iridium system offers additional voice and data capabilities to supplement radio cockpit communications. The installation will include antenna, wiring, structural elements and a control panel providing voice communications worldwide, global positioning data over TCP/IP, dedicated voice and data channels and programmable traffic routing,” says local distributor Satcomms chairman Anthony Glass.
“The system operates over the Iridium network. With Iridium’s ubiquitous global coverage, the solution effectively eliminates the problem of interruptions in cockpit communications and ultimately improves global coordination among the flight operations group, maintenance and crew scheduling,” says Glass.
The application of Iridium satellite services will eliminate the airline’s dependency on standard radio communication methods which are limited over remote areas and can be unreliable under certain weather conditions.
“The product is being selected based on its lower cost-per-kilobyte of data transferred as well as the ease and speed of installation relative to other systems,” Glass adds.