Arinc sharpens focus on business aviation

 - October 11, 2007, 11:14 AM

Arinc, best known for its broad-based aviation services in the field of transportation communications and systems engineering, has launched a new effort aimed at specifically providing the same services and more to the business aviation industry.
It began in earnest last September at the NBAA Convention when the Annapolis, Md.-based company announced it was joining forces with Air Routing International to market a portfolio of more than 25 flight services for business aviation under the trade name Arinc Direct.

The idea for Arinc Direct’s Flight Support Services was to provide a “full suite of flight information and safety applications delivered to the cockpit via datalink, plus deluxe worldwide trip planning, concierge and ground-handling services, in coordination with Air Routing International’s global network.” To access the Arinc Direct information applications, operators would need no special software.

The Arinc Direct datalink system is also suitable for selected ATC messaging, including pre-departure clearance, digital ATIS, North Atlantic oceanic clearance and terminal weather information for pilots.

“Operators with datalink already have what they need to use our full suite of services,” said David Poltorak, Arinc’s v-p of business aviation services. Poltorak also noted that Arinc Messenger, in partnership with Concord, Mass.-based FlyTimers, is available as a retrofit item for older aircraft not equipped to deal with modern datalink service.

Arinc Direct also supports voice and data communications on VHF, HF and satellite for global coverage and maximum reliability.

At the same time, Arinc has not forgotten the needs of the people in the back of the airplane. Also last September, the company announced an agreement with SES Americom to create a broadband cabin communications service called SkyLink. The system will employ Americom’s Ku-band satellite capacity covering North America and an Arinc-designed aircraft antenna.

SkyLink is expected to go operational late this year. The system is expected to offer uplink speeds between 512 kbps and 3 Mbps and downlink user-selectable speeds up to 128 kbps. Flight tests are ongoing, in cooperation with Gulfstream Aerospace on a Gulfstream aircraft. The commitment makes Gulfstream the launch customer for SkyLink. Arinc believes SkyLink will be a competitive alternative to the 64-kbps satellite technology currently available, offering “unparalleled capability.”

Just three months after it announced SkyLink–in a bid to further strengthen its flight services to corporate aviation–Arinc teamed with Sabre Holdings to offer new flight-planning software and Web-enabled flight-planning services to business jet operators. The technology, bundled with Arinc Direct, calculates the optimum route and altitude profiles for any particular flight, and is based on the Sabre AirPath 360 dispatch and flight-planning system used by more than 40 airlines worldwide.

The official launch of Arinc Direct’s Flight Support Services came on April 1, with the opening of the 24/7 operations center in Annapolis. Arinc Direct is at the heart of the center and ties all the company’s business aviation services together.

While most customer applications are automated, flight coordinators at the operations center are also available to handle requests personally. Requests for domestic trip planning and ground handling are coordinated by the Arinc staff. Similar services for international trips are handled through Air Routing International.

The most recent addition is a new 24-hour flight-support center designed exclusively for business aviation, which opened on April 29. Like the other business aviation services, it comes under the Arinc Direct umbrella and specializes in modifying business aircraft. “We bring together [at the facility] the highest OEM-grade service skills with certified engineering and technical support,” said Poltorak.

The Colorado Springs, Colo.-based center has FAR Part 145 certification and is JAA approved. The 14,400-sq-ft hangar can accommodate aircraft as large as a GV. It
now allows Arinc Direct to provide “full aircraft maintenance management programs, avionics support and integration, system analysis and engineering, plus RVSM and other regulation-driven upgrades–all from a single source,” said Poltorak.

By Arinc’s count, nearly 6,000 business jets will require monitoring services or modifications to take advantage of the new RVSM requirements scheduled to go into effect over North America in 2005. The company has provided RVSM monitoring services since 1997 and has flown nearly 3,500 RVSM flights.

Now, in anticipation of the growing demand for RVSM certification to meet the new North American requirements, Arinc has added to its staff at Colorado Springs, as well as at five other Arinc locations: Annapolis; Chesapeake, Va; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and San Diego. According to Poltorak, the company will prepare RVSM-approved packages individually or under type certificates.

The Arinc Direct facility at Colorado Springs also performs all required annual, 100-hour and Phase 1-5 standard required aircraft inspections. Under a maintenance management plan, aircraft are placed in a computerized program that includes all pre- and post-flight services and logbook maintenance. Also available through the support center is a 24/7 AOG support program with an “away team” of five maintenance specialists.