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Why is ADS-B Technology Important for Airlines and Global Aviation Authorities?

1. Efficiency and procedure development

SafeRoute+ enables pilots to maintain Visual Flight Rules (VFR) arrival rates under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions enabling better decision making to optimize flight paths, altitudes and spacing. 

According to Captain Dave Surridge, A320 captain and senior manager of optimization, policies and procedures for American Airlines, “that bigger picture enables us to make better decisions about how the current stage of the flight is going to be conducted. We’re hoping to see better spacing on final, better use of terminal airspace, and a reduction in go-arounds.” 

With the current reduction in air traffic, pilots and controllers may have an opportunity to focus on these new procedures during revenue flights, aiding in the validation of the benefit assumptions.

2. Situational awareness

“This new technology allows flight crews to get a more complete picture of what the ADS-B equipped aircraft around them are doing,” Captain Surridge said. “If the pilots know how fast the aircraft ahead is traveling, compared to their own speed, they can make better decisions as to when to begin slowing down during the visual approach, or whether they can turn the corner sooner, or go straight, or turn towards the runway,” he said. SafeRoute+ offers additional situational awareness to the flight crew that is, quite simply, a game changer. 

“ADS-B In applications can improve efficiency, capacity, and safety and will be most advantageous to pilots and controllers because it provides much greater Airborne Situational Awareness (AIRB)... and the three capabilities that will currently deliver the greatest benefits are CDTI-Assisted Visual Separation (CAVS), In Trail Procedures (ITP) and Interval Management (IM),” said Paul Takemoto, an FAA Spokesperson. 

The unparalleled accuracy of the locating capabilities of ADS-B In will provide a major step forward in reducing the number of runway incursions during low-visibility situations.

3. Low-cost retrofit solution

All it takes is a simple software upgrade to the existing TCAS 3000SP™ or T3CAS® computers, and the addition of the new ACSS ADS-B Guidance Display (AGD) to deliver unparalleled awareness of other aircraft within the broadcast area.

Airlines only need to buy the applications that fit their operations, making the solution economical.

4. Easy to use with minimal pilot training

Along with delivering advanced situational awareness capabilities, the system needs to be intuitive and easy to operate. 

“Because the system uses existing navigational displays and Multi-function Control
and Display Units (MCDU), the good news on this front is there is minimal training required for flight crews to get the most out of SafeRoute+,” Captain Surridge said. “The system is very intuitive and easy to follow. Because we all are very familiar with the ACSS system and the TCAS displays, it’s a very simple transition to get familiar with the new ADS-B In displays.”

5. Current opportunities for infrastructure improvements

To fully realize the benefits of ADS-B In, global agencies need to upgrade their infrastructure equipment so aircraft equipped with the ADS-B In equipment are easily recognized by traffic controllers. Plans are in place with the FAA for the infrastructure upgrade; however, with the current reduction in flight operations, there is an opportunity to invest in the infrastructure now. This means there will be less disruption due to installs and locations are ready to support airport growth in anticipation of the industry recovery after the pandemic.

Discover more about SafeRoute+