Aireon’s space-based ADS-B air traffic management system is now fully operational and in trial use over the North Atlantic, the company announced this morning. The system can track all ADS-B equipped aircraft worldwide in real time, Aerion said, adding the announcement ushers in a new era of safety.
“Our air transportation system has operated with a safe but less-than-efficient system in the 70 percent of the world that does not have real-time surveillance,” said Aireon CEO Don Thoma. “With the launch of our space-based ADS-B service, Aireon now provides a real-time solution to that challenge, one that will radically optimize flight safety and efficiency.”
The system, which has been in the works for eight years, uses the Iridium Next satellite constellation, which completed deployment in January. Aireon since has completed payload testing, validation, and calibration. Under the trial, controllers will be able to reduce in-trail separation distances from 40 nm to as little as 14 nm. With improved visibility and control over previously un-surveilled airspace, operators will be able to fly at more optimal routes and speeds, saving money and reducing emissions, Aireon added.
Nav Canada and NATs are the first air navigation service providers to use the space-based service. “To know the position, speed and altitude of every ADS-B equipped aircraft in oceanic airspace—in real time—is a transformational change to how our controllers manage air traffic,” said Neil Wilson, president and CEO of Nav Canada.