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Inmarsat that its SB-S connectivity platform for aviation operations and safety has successfully powered the first ever test of a digital cockpit application on a Boeing 737 aircraft within Chinese domestic civil aviation.

The tests were conducted by Shenzhen Airlines, in partnership with Inmarsat and China Transport Telecommunication Information Group Company Limited (CTTIC), during a number of flights between Beijing and Chongqing. SB-S provided a two-way communication channel between Aircraft Operations Centre (AOC) flight dispatchers and airline crew, allowing multiple different activities to be demonstrated, such as text message verification, video communication, voice messages and 6D position tracking.

In addition, flight dispatchers were able to send the crew uploads of meteorological radar pictures in real time, while the crew sent pictures of cockpit equipment and conducted video calls mid-flight.

SB-S, winner of the Jane’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) Technology Award, combines cutting-edge satellite technology with secure IP connectivity to meet the needs of aviation data communications in the digital age. As the world’s first and only global, secure broadband platform for aviation operations and safety, it provides airlines with capabilities and benefits no other satellite communications provider can deliver.

Zhang Yi, Inmarsat’s China Managing Director, said: “Our SB-S connectivity platform has already been retrofitted on more than 130 Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft from the Shenzhen Airlines fleet, in partnership with CTTIC. The success of these recent test flights are not only a significant milestone in our continued rollout of SB-S with Shenzhen Airlines, but also supports China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which sets out ambitious targets to develop and advance the country’s civil aviation industry.

“We look forward to building on the positive momentum of these flights and exploring how SB-S can be used to advance integrated cockpit communication with Shenzhen Airlines.”


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