Iridium (News - Alert) Communications Inc., the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe, has completed a formal agreement for global air traffic joint venture with NAV CANADA, the private sector, non-share capital corporation that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation service (ANS (News - Alert)).
Giving details, officials with Iridium Communications said that the company has finalized an agreement with NAV regarding Aireon LLC, a joint venture that will allow air traffic management agencies around the globe to continuously track aircraft anywhere in the world.
Company officials said that Aireon will uniquely leverage Iridium NEXT, Iridium's next-generation constellation of 66 cross-linked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, to meet the critical need of extending Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) coverage and benefits to every flight path across the planet.
Thanks to this, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) around the world will be able to track aircraft from pole-to-pole, including oceanic airspace and remote regions.
It will also provide significant benefits to the aviation industry, including substantial fuel savings, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced safety and efficiency for passengers.
"Aireon truly is a revolutionary advancement and I am excited about the opportunities it will present for Iridium, NAV CANADA and other air navigation service providers who may choose to collaborate with us," said Matt Desch (News - Alert), CEO of Iridium, in a statement.
"Finalizing this joint venture is yet another milestone achievement for commercially hosted payloads and I am proud that Iridium is leading the charge through our Iridium NEXT constellation,” said Desch.
He said that this agreement is an important step toward bringing this critical innovation to market, and the benefits of faster, safer, more efficient air travel to consumers and businesses around the world.
"NAV CANADA is ideally suited to be a partner in Aireon because of the important role they play in providing air navigation services to some of the busiest oceanic airspace in the world," said Don Thoma (News - Alert), president and CEO of Aireon.
Thoma said that coupling the incomparable Iridium network with their expertise in air traffic management systems will result in one of the most significant advancements the aviation industry has ever seen.
NAV CANADA also plans to utilize the Aireon service as a customer, beginning with adoption in the busy North Atlantic airspace.
Aireon will provide NAV CANADA with enhanced services and enable commercial airline operations to be more efficient, safer and more environmentally friendly.
"We are pleased to have reached this important milestone in formalizing our joint venture with Iridium," said John Crichton, president and CEO of NAV CANADA.
Crichton said that Aireon represents a revolutionary advancement that extends the benefits of ADS-B surveillance far beyond what was previously thought possible.
“We are excited about the opportunities for NAV CANADA both as an investor and as one of the first planned customers of Aireon," he said.
Chris Metts, vice president of the FAA Program Management Organization, said that the FAA has been working with Iridium as they develop technical and operational requirements toward the realization of a space-based ADS-B system to provide safety and efficiency benefits to the airspace.
Metts said that this technology could be transformative for the aviation industry and the FAA is committed to ensuring that the technical performance of the space-based ADS-B system meets the agency's needs.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman