This paper examines issues underpinning the potential move in aviation away from real speech radiotelephony (R/T) communications towards datalink communications involving text and synthetic speech communications. Using a novel air traffic control (ATC) task, two experiments are reported. Experiment 1 compared the use of speech and text while Experiment 2 compared the use of real and synthetic speech communications. Results indicated that generally there were no significant differences between speech and text communications and that either type could be used without any main effects on performance. However, a number of specific differences were observed across the different phases of the scenarios indicating that workload levels may be more varied when speech communications are used. Experiment 2 illustrated that participants placed a greater level of trust in real speech than synthetic speech, and trusted true communications more than false communications (regardless of whether they were real or synthetic voices). The findings are considered in terms of datalink initiatives for future air traffic management, the importance placed on real speech R/T communications, and the need to develop more natural synthetic speech in this application area.