A new air traffic services (ATS) interconnection has strengthened the exchange of information between Europe and South America, safeguarding the transmission of critical data such as flight plans and meteorological forecasts. On 23 February 2023, a new ATS Message Handling Service (AMHS) Protocol for transferring messages (P1) between the Caracas and Madrid Communications Centres became operational. This new communication service was accomplished within the context of ICAO’s South American Region Digital Network (REDDIG) initiative.
REDDIG is a fully meshed Internet Protocol (IP) network that forms the regional segment of the global Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN). It provides the platform necessary for the undertaking of all communications required for the provision of air navigation services, covering ATS Message Handling System (AMHS), ATS Interfacility Data Communication (AIDC), Surveillance information (SSR, ADS-B, MLAT, etc.), and voice communication technologies.
The new ATS interconnection has strengthened the exchange of information between Europe and South America, safeguarding the transmission of critical data such as flight plans and meteorological forecasts.
“ICAO, on behalf of South American and some Caribbean governments, is the body responsible for the coordination, management, modernization and administration of REDDIG,” explained ICAO’s Regional Director for South America, Fabio Rabbani. “This long-awaited interconnection was concluded thanks to the recent installation of the REDDIG Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) node in Madrid last December, and represents a tremendous step forward in the implementation of ICAO’s Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) and its related Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs).”
The work was undertaken through an ICAO regional technical cooperation project managed by the organization’s regional office in Lima. This project encompasses the management of programming, finances, contracts with service providers (such as providers of satellite and ground communication providers), and the provision of continuous technical and network administration support.
The REDDIG network became operational in 2003, with the goal of providing aeronautical communications services that optimize resources and expanding services through the delivery of a modern regional aeronautical communications system.
Manuel García Martín, Communication Division Chief with Spain’s ENAIRE air navigation services provider (ANSP) has hailed both the choice of the technology and the successful deployment of the REDDIG initiative. At the same time, Jarumy Castillo of the INAC, speaking on behalf of Venezuela’s ANSP, underscored these developments’ crucial importance in aviation safety and efficiency.
Described as “a unique symbiosis among States and ICAO for the benefit of the aeronautical telecommunication infrastructure,” the success of this project has paved the way for future REDDIG MPLS nodes in Panama and Johannesburg.