The announcement signals the FAA’s significant progress toward reaching its initial goal for transitioning from voice-only to digital data communications between pilots and air traffic controllers. The commitments to date represent 80 percent of the FAA’s goals for avionics equipage. Harris previously announced that United Airlines was the first of the five major U.S. carriers to commit to equipping its planes.
Data Communications will make it possible to transition communications between air traffic controllers and airline cockpit crews from voice-only to data, which will relieve capacity constraints on voice channels as well as reduce the likelihood of communication errors. This will vastly improve the efficiency of FAA operations and enable capabilities that are not available today. Benefits of the program will include fuels savings and reduced emissions.