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Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communication System (AeroMACS) is a wireless broadband technology that supports the increasing need for data communications and information sharing on the airport surface for both fixed and mobile applications. Based on the mature WiMAX standard (IEEE 802.16e), AeroMACS operates in the protected and licensed aviation spectrum band from 5091 MHz to 5150 MHz, which has been designated on a worldwide basis by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2007.

AeroMACS Frequencies

AeroMACS Benefits

AeroMACS enables ground-to-aircraft communications to support both current applications and new ones that require more bandwidth. Its benefits extend beyond a higher throughput in ground communications. AeroMACS is a key technology to the aviation industry to improve communications on the airport surface by providing increased transmission of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Airline Operations Communications (AOC) to relieve traffic, congestions, and delays, and to support the safety and regularity of flight.

Major AeroMACS strengths are its security, flexibility, reliability, scalability and interoperability to support global deployments. AeroMACS has multiple advantages and benefits:

  • Supports a wide range of air traffic applications. It provides connectivity for fixed and mobile assets, improving situational awareness on the airport surface area.
  • Increases security capabilities with private data exchange, which is delivered by Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
  • Optimizes air traffic management through Quality of Service (QoS) functionality.
  • Relieves the congested VHF spectrum.
  • Supports the integration of critical communications on the airport surface.
  • Presents significantly lower cost and less disruptive alternative to the current cable loop technology.

AeroMACS Applications

Hundreds of AeroMACS applications have been identified to support the following operational domains:

  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) / Air Traffic Management (ATM) applications.
  • Airline operations applications such as Airline Operational Control (AOC).
  • Airport infrastructure applications.

AeroMACS Worldwide Standardization

AeroMACS is internationally standardized and globally harmonized. It is the only wireless technology that has been validated by EUROCONTROL, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to support the safety and regularity of flight. AeroMACS is one of the essential enablers of the global Air Traffic Management (ATM) initiatives and one of the three required communication technologies under the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP).

ICAO has approved the AeroMACS Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) resulting in Amendment 90 to ICAO Annex 10, which has been endorsed by 192 ICAO nations and will help ensure manufacturer interoperability, global harmonization and security through certified equipment. This Amendment was effective in November 2016 and is now included in Chapter 7 of Volume III of Annex 10. ICAO has also developed the AeroMACS Technical Manual and guidance document.

The AeroMACS Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) and the AeroMACS Profile document have been jointly developed and approved by RTCA and EUROCAE. The ARINC AEEC has unanimously approved the initiation of the AeroMACS Standards that will enable the system to be installed in Commercial type aircraft. The initial applications will likely be used to support the existing Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) in the cockpits.

AeroMACS Deployments

Since 2007, an AeroMACS Trial has been underway at the NASA Glenn Research Center Testbed located at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to enable the standard validation. More than 40 airports have already implemented AeroMACS and there are several AeroMACS projects being contemplated, under consideration and with ongoing installation around the world. If you’d like to improve communications and deploy an AeroMACS network at your airport, please contact us at

AeroMACS deployed at Airport

In the United States, the WiMAX Forum filed a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), requesting the adoption of AeroMACS service rules in March 2017. If adopted, eligible non-Federal entities would be authorized by rule to operate AeroMACS stations without an individual license issued by the FCC. AeroMACS spectrum would be available after registration with, and assignment by, a nationwide Channel Manager, which the FCC would appoint. The Channel Manager would allocate available channels among eligible non-Federal users, ensuring nationwide consistency while maximizing efficient and flexible usage of the spectrum.

AeroMACS Activities within the WiMAX Forum

AeroMACS - WiMAX Forum Certified   The WiMAX Forum offers product certification at the AeroMACS Designated Certification Laboratory (ADCL) based on requirements defined in aviation industry standards. WiMAX Forum Certified - AeroMACS, WiGRID, and WiMAX products attest to their conformance to IEEE Std 802.16, ensuring interoperability worldwide. Certified products that have been through the certification program will reduce investment uncertainties for all parties in the access network value chain, from technology providers to service providers to end users. To learn more about certification, please visit: WiMAX Forum Certification.

The WiMAX Forum has been partnering with several regulatory and aviation organizations to establish study groups to help advance the development, standardization, and testing of AeroMACS. Among these organizations are:

 •  AAAE  •  ARINC  •  ENRI  •  JCAB
 •  ACI-NA  •  ASRI  •  EUROCAE  •  RTCA
 •  AEEC - (Including SAI)  •  CAAC  •  EUROCONTROL   •  SITA
 •  AFC  •  DECEA  •  FAA  
 •  Airlines for America  •  DFS  •  ICAO  


Following the technology recommendations of EUROCONTROL and the FAA, the WiMAX Forum instituted the Aviation Working Group (AWG) within its organizational structure to collaborate on AeroMACS. The AWG acts as a focal point for worldwide aviation industry interests in AeroMACS technology for all aviation applications by defining requirements and technology profiles that drive the network, air interface specifications, certification, and products to ensure the development of a healthy ecosystem of interoperable, Aviation-centric product solutions.

The WiMAX Forum is committed to helping the global aviation industry upgrade its airport surface communications systems with powerful and economical solutions, and participation in the WiMAX Forum AWG is open to all WiMAX Forum member companies. Only WiMAX Forum Members can certify products to guarantee interoperability and standard compliance for AeroMACS, WiGRID, and WiMAX; secure networks using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates; develop technical specifications; influence favorable regulatory environments; and contribute to the growth of the industry through standards development that satisfy the market needs, among other advantages.

If your company is not a member, email us to learn more about how you can participate: You can also learn more about joining the WiMAX Forum today!

Additional Resources

To learn more about AeroMACS, please click on the following:

  • AeroMACS: A Common Platform for Air Traffic Management Applications: a white paper written by Monica Paolini, Senza Fili Consulting, that identifies a set of applications that are necessary to air traffic management and that AeroMACS can support in terms of performance and cost efficiency (2015).
  • AeroMACS: Delivering Next Generation Communications to the Airport Surface: a white paper that provides further details on how AeroMACS can meet the short- and long-term demands for improved airport surface communications and what it would take to facilitate a typical AeroMACS deployment in airports (2015).
  • AeroMACS: It’s like a Real-time GPS, but Better!: an article written by Aloke Roy Senior Program Manager at Honeywell (2016).
  • AeroMACS NASA-CLE CNS Test Bed Brochure: informational FAA, NASA, WiMAX Forum brochure on AeroMACS: Future Communications Research via the NASA-CLE CNS Test Bed (2017).
  • AeroMACS System Characterization and Demonstrations: this paper provides a summary of the AeroMACS performance testing and the status of standardization activities that the testing supports (2014).
  • Enabling the Next Generation in Air Traffic Management with AeroMACS: a white paper written by Monica Paolini, Senza Fili Consulting, that presents an overview of AeroMACS: the technology, the standardization efforts that define it, the applications and business model that it will enable, and the ecosystem that will provide the foundation for its success (2014).
  • Enhancing Aerodrome Surface Operation by AeroMACS and BDS: Air Traffic Regulation Office, CAAC presentation at ICAO 55th Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation, Asia and Pacific Regions (2018).
  • NASA, FAA Demonstrate Wireless Communication with Aircraft: NASA press release on how for the first time ever, a team of engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center conveyed aviation data—including route options and weather information—to an airplane over a wireless communication system for aircraft on the ground (2016).