Case Study: Susi Air

HomeCase Study: Susi Air
aircraft tracking in indonesia


The Iridium network enabled aviation solutions that provide critical two-way communications to pilots who delivered food and medical supplies to the islands of Indonesia after a devastating tsunami.

The Challenge

Susi Air pilots regularly fly to some of the most challenging and remote destinations on the planet, including the wild jungles and mountains of Indonesia. The 17,000-plus islands of Indonesia often lack airport infrastructure and navigation aids, and have limited air traffic control centers. These limitations make the delivery of food and medical supplies following natural disasters or crisis situations very challenging. Needless to say, transportation becomes even more complicated when a natural disaster happens. In fact, Susi Air originally began operating in response to a major earthquake and tsunami that destroyed large parts of the North Sumatran island in 2004.

With natural disasters affecting Indonesia on a regular basis, the local government and emergency teams are forced to be constantly prepared with reliable communications tools and equipment for disaster response on a moment’s notice.

The Solution

Iridium partner Blue Sky Network installed a combination of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved products onboard all Susi Air aircraft for around-the-clock tracking, voice, and messaging capabilities: the D1000 SATCOM aircraft tracker and the Advanced Control Head (ACH) 1000 transceiver. When pilots fly into the far reaches of Indonesia, Blue Sky Network serves as the operational command and control center for Susi Air’s operations. Everything from mission dispatch, flight planning, two-way satellite communications, and fleet analytics are completed through Blue Sky Network’s industry-leading management portal, SkyRouter. All of this is made possible through the Iridium network comprised of 66 Low-Earth Orbit satellites, enabling Blue Sky Network’s solutions to provide truly global coverage.

After an earthquake and tsunami that hit the Palu and Donggala areas in October 2018, Susi Air pilots utilized Blue Sky Network’s Iridium Connected® aviation products to provide relief efforts. The pilots were able to bring specialists directly to the affected region, as well as deliver aid, water, food, and other critical supplies to disaster-stricken areas and relocate displaced and injured citizens to hospitals and emergency shelters in other cities.

delivery of supplies after indonesian tsunami
Delivery of Critical Supplies

“Through the powerful Iridium satellite network, Blue Sky Network solutions served as the heart of Susi Air’s disaster relief operations after the earthquake and tsunami,” said Mathew Pearson, Blue Sky Network’s product support manager, who worked closely with Susi Air. “The reliability of the Iridium network allowed the Susi Air pilots to make urgent voice calls and navigate safely in unpredictable conditions to transport passengers and deliver critical supplies. Iridium is the cornerstone for all of our aviation solutions and we are grateful for this partnership that enables us to save lives.”

The Result

In the aftermath of the devastating tsunami that affected the Palu and Donggala areas, Susi Air, Blue Sky Network, and Iridium enabled first response flights that were critical for delivering essential supplies to areas struck by the disaster. Susi Air reported the successful delivery of more than 42,000 kilograms (92,594 pounds) of necessary provisions and the transportation of more than 100 specialist aid workers into Palu directly. In addition, Susi Air pilots have evacuated more than 250 sick, injured, and displaced people from the area and helped relocate them into neighboring cities.

aftermath of indonesian tsunami
Devastating Aftermath

“Susi Air’s pilots were the first responders to the scene providing essential supplies and equipment to help deal with the aftermath of this unexpected and instantly shattering natural disaster,” said Kris Ingram, of Susi Air. Ingram flew on a number of the missions in the relief and rescue efforts.

“Thanks to the reliable Iridium network, our pilots were able to navigate safely, monitor weather conditions, and make critical collaborative decisions with the operations command center via all communication channels. This greatly assisted with everything from general landing and taking off, to live ‘go’ and ‘no-go’ decisions. It was essential because cell phone and Internet communications were either non-existent or extremely overloaded on site.”

Take Away

Iridium’s global coverage, low latency, and reliability enable the ideal communications solutions for disaster response situations.