Aireon Cites Global 'Momentum,' Works With Africa on ADS-B

 - February 20, 2015, 8:30 AM
The agreement with ASECNA demonstrates Aireon's 'growing momentum,' said president and CEO Don Thoma. (Photo: Bill Carey)

Satellite surveillance provider Aireon signed an agreement with the Senegal-based Agency for the Security of Aviation Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) to assess its requirements for Aireon’s automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system, potentially extending ADS-B surveillance to West Africa. ASECNA is the ATC provider for 17 African states; its airspace covers six flight information regions (FIRs).

The collaboration with ASECNA follows a similar agreement Aireon signed in early February with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, covering the Singapore FIR. Aireon’s surveillance system will use ADS-B receivers carried as hosted payloads on Iridium Next satellites. Iridium expects to position the 66 new satellites and in-orbit spares by 2017.

Aireon, based in McLean, Va., is a joint venture among Iridium Communications and air navigation service providers Nav Canada, ENAV of Italy, Naviair of Denmark and the Irish Aviation Authority. Nav Canada will acquire a 51-percent interest in the venture by late 2017.

In a separate announcement in early February, Aireon said its aircraft locating emergency response tracking service—Aireon Alert—will be managed from the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic communications center in Ballygirreen, Ireland. The company will offer the service free of charge, allowing rescue agencies, ATC providers or airlines to request the location and last flight track of ADS–B equipped aircraft.

Aireon’s memorandum of agreement with ASECNA will assess requirements in airspace including the Dakar oceanic FIR that connects western Africa and Europe to South America and the Caribbean. The agreement includes evaluating the coordinated use of the service in neighboring regional airspace.

The Aireon satellite-based system provides nations with a means to conduct surveillance of ADS-B equipped aircraft in remote areas without the expense of installing a ground radio network. Aireon describes it as a complement to terrestrial-based ADS-B. “We're particularly interested in surveillance coverage over remote terrestrial routes within Niamey, Ndjamena and Brazzaville, as well as the oceanic routes in Dakar and Madagascar and expect that enhanced surveillance in the ASECNA FIR will not only generate efficiencies for the airlines but will also generate significant safety improvements for Africa while reducing the costs of infrastructure for ASECNA,” stated Amadou Ousmane Guitteye, ASECNA director general.

“Our agreement with ASECNA is yet another sign of progress in our vision to serve as a global platform for aviation surveillance and demonstrates the growing momentum of Aireon's space-based ADS-B solution,” said Don Thoma, Aireon president and CEO.