The Santa Maria oceanic communication station attends to the communications between the air traffic control services and aircraft which wish to fly in the Oceanic FIR through a mobile aeronautical service and also for other flight communications through the fixed aeronautical service.  The station also manages the flight data treatment and processing system.

The aeronautical stations of Santa Maria, New York, Gander, Shanwick, Iceland and Bodo were strategically set up, operating in radio-telephonic networks, to guarantee total and permanent coverage of all of this vast oceanic area and to ensure that there are effective aeronautical communications with all aircraft en route between Europe and Central and North America.


- To guarantee the effectiveness of the ground/air communications in the Oceanic FIR, permanently listening to the frequencies attributed to the North Atlantic radio-telephone network;
- To allocate primary and secondary frequencies to the aircraft taking into account distances, propagation and volume conditions, and traffic complexity and direction;
- To verify and operate the collective call systems (SELCAL);
- To receive and transmit the messages between aircraft in flight or ready to take off and the air traffic control services, search and rescue services, aviation company flight operations services, meteorological services and military organisations; 
- To take, in coordination with other aeronautical stations, the appropriate measures in case of communications failure and to attend to emergency procedures when the situation calls for this;
- To instruct aircraft, in coordination with other aeronautical stations, regarding the frequencies in use in the adjoining FIR’s, ensuring effective air/ground communications transfer.

The messages sent by the aeronautical station are control authorisations regarding the route, altitude and velocity of the aircraft, information concerning en route meteorological conditions or at the destination aerodrome and operators’ messages of interest for the safety and normal running of the flights. 

The messages received by the aeronautical station are position, altitude and velocity reports from the aircraft which allow the flight progress to be monitored, flight profile alteration requests to optimise fuel consumption or flight conditions, en route meteorological information and information regarding the safety and normal running of the flights.