NAV CANADA and Iridium today announced a new joint venture to be run under the company Aireon LLC with support from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and suppliers Harris Corporation and ITT Exelis. The new company takes advantage of Iridium’s NEXT hosted payload capability and will deliver surveillance capability to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) around the world and their commercial airline customers.
According to NAV CANADA, Aireon will deliver global aircraft tracking capability through Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers built into Iridium’s 66 satellites as part of its second generation constellation called iridium NEXT which is scheduled to be launched between 2015-2017.
“Together with our employees and customers, NAV CANADA is very much looking forward to being a part of this once-in-a lifetime opportunity,” said John Crichton, President & CEO of NAV CANADA. “We understand the challenges faced by air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and airlines around the world. Our joint efforts through Aireon are aimed to improve both safety and flight efficiency, while contributing to a greener environment.”
NAV CANADA will all be Aireon’s first customer to deploy the new satellite-based surveillance capability in its North Atlantic airspace operations most of which is without surveillance at the moment.
“I am excited that Iridium will once again be able to use its unique global satellite network to expand connectivity beyond the limitations of ground-based systems,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. “Just as we opened the world of personal communications far beyond the ten percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered by terrestrial networks, we are now extending the reach of land-based aircraft tracking systems. This is a big milestone for commercially hosted payloads and it will be a ground-breaking use of Iridium NEXT. Iridium is the only company with the capability and reach to enable this, and we are thrilled that our service will make air travel more efficient and safer. Aireon is truly revolutionary.”
NAV CANADA is the second largest air navigation service in the world by traffic volume and provides air traffic management for 1,200 flights per day, the busiest oceanic airspace in the world.
Iridium stated Aireon is expected to generate approximately $200 million in one-time hosting fees for the integration and launch of the payloads between 2014 and 2017 if all negotiations are successful with NAV Canada and other customers.