Datalink A Step Closer In Europe

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Any pilot who's tried to communicate on a busy frequency can appreciate the value of having a datalink option in the cockpit, where controllers can send instructions directly to a computer screen. This week, Europe's airspace system moved a step closer to implementing a universal datalink system, announcing the choice of a contractor to build the infrastructure. The project will be led by a consortium comprising Sita, which is already providing air/ground service to most airlines, and Sofreavia, which provides the hardware. New rules that are expected to be adopted this year will require aircraft that fly in Europe's airspace to be datalink-ready by 2010. The project has estimated that the widespread use of datalink technology will increase airspace capacity about 11 percent within 10 years, while lowering costs.