Radio spectrum allocated for global flight tracking

In a special meeting on global flight tracking, held in Montréal, 12-13 May 2014, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) encouraged ITU to take urgent action to provide the necessary spectrum allocations for satellites to support emerging aviation needs. As a result this issue was included in the World Radio Conference 2015 (WRC-15) agenda.

Following up on this action an agreement has been reached on the allocation of radiofrequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation.

Therefore, the frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has now 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.

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

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.

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 reaching this agreement at WRC-15, ITU responds to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking.

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.

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