This article is the third and final in a series on the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), a communication protocol that has become pivotal in the aviation community for the last 40 years. Part one of this series included an overview of ACARS and how it has improved over the years, addressing broader challenges across the industry. Our second installment of the series explored various misunderstandings about ACARS with Dan Pendergast, senior marketing director, Commercial Aviation and Network Services at Rockwell Collins. Pendergast debunked a few of these myths and shared a thoughtful breakdown of the truth behind the technology.

In the final part of our ACARS series on Connected Aviation Today, we sat down with Pendergast once again to delve into the technology, the impact it’s made on aviation, and why ACARS is here to stay now and for the foreseeable future. “What began as a relatively small, operational network has evolved into a global network used by air traffic control, hundreds of airlines, and delivers more than nine billion messages annually,” Pendergast stated, speaking to ACARS’ broad reach in the industry.

Today, ACARS continues to evolve, “New ACARS capabilities associated with the connected aircraft have already emerged,” Pendergrast told us. He proceeded to share examples about how ACARS currently is able to accommodate various aircraft communication demands with communication via IP links, a more advanced and modern communication protocol that many operators are shifting towards.

Even after 40 years of shaping aviation communication, ACARS continues to adapt to airline, airport, and ATC expectations. We look forward to watching the ongoing evolution of this technology for the next 40 years.

You can watch our full conversation with Pendergast here and learn about the history, present, and future of ACARS:

Chelsea Barone

About Chelsea Barone

Chelsea is an editor for Connected Aviation Today, managing the day-to-day editorial activities. Chelsea writes for other federal government and technology industry publications. Her background lies in B2B and enterprise technology, specifically cloud computing, SaaS, travel IT, and mobile devices.