Global Flight-Tracking System Will Use Space-Based ADS-B

Aireon and FlightAware partnership GlobalBeacon planned for use by airlines in 2018.

GlobalBeacon
GlobalBeacon will use space-based ADS-B receivers to provide airlines with minute-by-minute aircraft tracking around the world.GlobalBeacon

A newly announced flight-tracking system will use space-based ADS-B receivers to provide minute-by-minute aircraft tracking around the globe.

GlobalBeacon, a partnership between Aireon and FlightAware, is designed to ensure airlines meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) recommendations. Qatar Airways, GlobalBeacon’s launch customer, will begin using the service in 2018.

The global flight-tracking system will pair Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network — set to be in operation after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation — with FlightAware’s already established worldwide flight-tracking information and Web interface. Aireon CEO Don Thoma said there will be no need for Qatar Airways to equip with new avionics to use the service.

GADSS, announced by ICAO in March in response to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, recommends aircraft report their position to the airline operations center at a minimum of once every 15 minutes — and once every minute if the aircraft is in distress.

Developers said GlobalBeacon will far exceed that recommendation and also meet requirements to provide immediate notification of abnormal events regardless of air traffic control boundaries, without interfering with baseline search and rescue services.