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Radio spectrum allocated for global flight tracking

ITU World Radiocommunication Conference enables Earth-to-space
reception of ADS-B transmissions

Geneva, 11 November 2015 – Agreement has been reached at the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva on the allocation of radiofrequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation.

The frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by space stations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft transmitters.

The frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz is currently being utilized for the transmission of ADS-B signals from aircraft to terrestrial stations within line-of-sight. The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) has now allocated this frequency band in the Earth-to-space direction to enable transmissions from aircraft to satellites. This extends ADS-B signals beyond line-of-sight to facilitate reporting the position of aircraft equipped with ADS-B anywhere in the world, including oceanic, polar and other remote areas.

WRC-15 recognized that as the standards and recommended practices (SARP) for systems enabling position determination and tracking of aircraft are developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the performance criteria for satellite reception of ADS-B signals will also need to be addressed by ICAO.

This agreement follows the disappearance and tragic loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 in March 2014 with 239 people on board, which spurred worldwide discussions on global flight tracking and the need for coordinated action by ITU and other relevant organizations.

In its special meeting on global flight tracking, which took place in Montréal, 12-13 May 2014, ICAO encouraged ITU to take urgent action to provide the necessary spectrum allocations for satellites to support emerging aviation needs. In October 2014, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.

“In reaching this agreement at WRC-15, ITU has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU will continue to make every effort to improve flight tracking for civil aviation.”

“The allocation of frequencies for reception of ADS-B signals from aircraft by space stations will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “We will continue to work with ICAO and other international organizations to enhance safety in the skies.”

Don Thoma, President and CEO, Aireon, addresses the significance of the decision taken at WRC-15 to enhance aviation safety by improving global flight tracking.

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Global flight tracking by satellites



 


Timeline:

  1. Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March 2014 while on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.
  2. On 1 April 2014, Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia called upon ITU to develop leading edge standards to facilitate the transmission of flight data in real time. He was speaking at the opening of the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference taking place in Dubai.
  3. 12-13 May 2014, ICAO special meeting in Montréal encouraged ITU to take urgent action to provide the necessary spectrum allocations for satellites to support emerging aviation needs.
  4. 26-27 May 2014: Expert Dialogue on global flight tracking took place in Kuala Lumpur.
  5. In October 2014, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.
  6. 11 November 2015: The frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by space stations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft transmitters.The World Radiocommunication Conference is in session, 2-27 November at the International Convention Centre Geneva (CICG).

Media Information:

  • The World Radiocommunication Conference is in session, 2-27 November at the International Convention Centre Geneva (CICG).
  • Accreditation information is available in the WRC-15 Newsroom.
  • UN Press accreditation is valid.
  • Photo badges will be provided at Registration desks at the ITU Montbrillant Building on rue Varembé.
  • Access to the meeting rooms are restricted.
  • Media accreditation enquiries: pressreg@itu.int

For more information, please see www.itu.int/en/newsroom/wrc15/Pages/default.aspx or contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
tel +41 22 730 5046
tel +41 79 249 4861
tel sanjay.acharya@itu.int
Grace Petrin
Communication Officer
ITU Radiocommunication Bureau
tel +41 22 730 5810
tel +41 79 599 1428
tel brpromo@itu.int  

 

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