FAA to Equip Satellite Air Traffic Control Technology on JetBlue A320s
[Satellite TODAY 02-07-11] JetBlue Airways signed an agreement with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to equip as many as 35 Airbus A320 planes with satellite-based technology to communicate with air traffic controllers, the FAA announced Feb. 4.
The FAA agreed to pay $4.2 million for the hardware and software necessary to equip JetBlue planes, officials said. The airline will pay to install and maintain the equipment as well as train flight crews and dispatchers how to use it. JetBlue will begin using satellite-based technology with air traffic control systems beginning in 2012.
The FAA is in the midst of a widespread initiative to replace the U.S. air traffic control system — a project that is expected to take more than a decade to complete and cost up to $22 billion for the FAA and $20 billion for the airline industry.
In September, JetBlue contracted ViaSat to provide Ka-band antenna components and SurfBeam 2 modems for installation on the airline’s Embraer E190 and Airbus A320 aircraft types along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue-1 and ViaSat-1 satellites. JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV will manage the integration of ViaSat broadband, Wi-Fi enabled services and related components onboard the aircraft.