Aireon Satellite-Based ADS-B Goes Live

New tracking system will improve ATC efficiency and safety.

Eight years of work culminated yesterday with the announcement that Aireon’s new space-based air traffic surveillance system became operational and immediately entered trials over the North Atlantic. Aireon’s ADS-B receivers are installed onboard all 66 of the newly launched Iridium satellite constellation now in low-earth orbit providing real-time air traffic surveillance and tracking to 100 percent of ADS-B equipped aircraft on the planet. Regulations mandating ADS-B equipage on aircraft have already been implemented throughout the world and take effect in the United States in January 2020 and in Europe in June 2020. Other countries are in the process of drafting mandates for implementation over the next few years.

Before Aireon’s system went live, traditional ground-based surveillance covered just 30 percent of the globe, meaning civil aviation authorities, commercial carriers and related industry stakeholders relied upon position updates from aircraft every 10-14 minutes to track aircraft outside of radar coverage, not the real-time updates that the Aireon service provides.

Aireon said, “Improved visibility and control over previously un-surveilled airspace—especially across oceanic regions—will allow airlines to fly routes at optimal speeds and levels, delivering expected cost savings of up to US$300 per transatlantic flight, plus reduce carbon dioxide emissions by two tons per flight, based on an analysis conducted by NATS and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

While under trial, oceanic air traffic controllers will, for example, begin reducing in-trail aircraft separation distances from 40 nautical miles to as little as 14, making the airspace more flexible, predictable and able to accommodate the immense growth predicted in the coming years.

Aireon also said, “Improved safety and cost savings for all aviation stakeholders are expected to be just a start. The revolutionary impact of the real-time location data and historical tracking information of Aireon’s space-based ADS-B data will create innovations not yet imagined.”

For more information, visit: aireon.com

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