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Qatar Airways First to provide up-to-the minute tracking of all aircraft

Staff Writer | September 28, 2016
Qatar Airways will be the global launch customer of GlobalBeacon, a technology solution by Aireon and FlightAware.
Qatar Airways
Air safety   The state-of-the-art technology
The system is designed to provide up-to-the minute global tracking of all aircraft equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in 2018, approximately three years before the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) recommendation for compliance by 2021.

Announced by ICAO in March of 2016, Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) was created to help improve the ability to detect commercial aircraft in remote locations.

The key components of GADSS recommend that aircraft report their position to the airline’s operations centre at a minimum of once every 15 minutes under normal flight circumstances. However, if an aircraft should become in distress, position reports are then to be provided every minute.

GlobalBeacon will provide a permanent minute-by-minute reporting capability, far exceeding the ICAO recommendation.

GlobalBeacon combines FlightAware’s worldwide flight tracking information, including origin, destination, flight plan route, position, and estimated time of arrival with data from Aireon’s space-based ADS-B aircraft surveillance system, due to be operational in 2018.

The solution will provide Qatar Airways with state-of-the-art technology to meet and exceed GADSS requirements and recommendations.

In May, Qatar Airways announced the successful completion of its TOPS fleet management system, designed to optimally schedule aircraft and manage flights.

TOPS, which stands for Total OPerations System, integrates data from multiple sources and produces a holistic view of the airline’s operation, from the global scale to the individual flight level, in order to anticipate and notify operations staff of any potential issue and provide solution options.

Specific tasks that can now be carried out due to this integration include, but are not limited to: tail assignment optimiser, whereby aircraft are assigned to specific lines of flying with respect to the operational needs of the route; NOTAM manager; and Flight Watch, which consolidates all flight data into a single graphical source for ease of tracking, communicating with and managing the airline’s more than 500 daily flights to more than 150 destinations in six continents.