Flight Explorer, exhibiting at the ABACE show here in Shanghai for the first time, claims to offer much more than flight tracking, although that is one of the company’s core products. It can track aircraft equipped with Iridium satellite communications systems anywhere in the world, and provide a private feed of that data to customers who operate those aircraft. Flight Explorer (Booth H525) is a Sabre group company, and also provides flight tracking via global radar feeds of aircraft flying in airspace controlled by the U.S. FAA, the UK, Eurocontrol, Airservices Australia and Airways New Zealand.
To deliver flight tracking data to private customers with Iridium-equipped aircraft, Flight Explorer partners with service providers and equipment manufacturers, such as Arinc Direct, Satcom Direct, Flyht, Blue Sky Network, Latitude and Honeywell Sky Connect. In China, Flight Explorer does not yet have a business aviation customer, but the company hopes to develop relationships with local charter/management firms while here at the ABACE show.
“We would [like to] assess the need for flight tracking [in China], how operators track their aircraft now and see what we have to offer,” said Michael Ficklin, Flight Explorer account director. Flight Explorer parent company Sabre Airline Solutions currently services most Chinese airlines, according to Ficklin.
The advantage of using flight-tracking systems like Flight Explorer, he explained, is that aircraft operators can see the location of each aircraft in their fleet. Dispatchers and flight operations departments can quickly assess weather effects and notify key personnel about potential delays. “There’s no reason we can’t do that here [for business aviation in China],” Ficklin said.
Flight Explorer’s other key product is delivery of global weather information, including weather radar over most of the world, graphical pilot reports, worldwide satellite infrared imaging, convective forecasts, turbulence forecasts, real-time worldwide lightning, temporary flight restrictions, volcanic ash advisory and worst-case scenario plotting, worldwide graphical METARs and worldwide TAFs.
According to Rick Armstrong, Flight Explorer account director, the company’s ability to help airline companies with situational awareness of their aircraft fleets and security for crew and passengers, “is enhanced for private operators because they have fewer resources. We bring resources like weather, Etops capabilities and emergency runway situations into the business aviation segment. It’s like you’re getting the capability of an operational control center delivered to much smaller operations. In the business aviation side it’s no less important.”o