NATS takes equity stake in Aireon to help accelerate technology revolution in global aviation surveillance

The UK air traffic management service provider, NATS, has announced it has invested in Aireon, the company pioneering a space-based air traffic surveillance service set to revolutionise the aviation industry.

Through a network of 66 low earth orbiting Iridium® NEXT satellites, AireonSM will monitor the location of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft flying anywhere in the world, transforming the way air traffic control services are provided.

The service will offer global air traffic surveillance of aircraft. This means that oceans and remote regions like the poles, deserts and mountainous areas will have real-time aircraft surveillance for the first time.

The forecasted safety and airspace capacity benefits, together with the savings in fuel and carbon emissions, are being hailed as the greatest revolution in air traffic management since the introduction of radar 70 years ago.

News of the US$69 million investment, worth around 10% equity, was announced at a press conference in Washington DC, near Aireon’s headquarters, at which NATS also confirmed it is currently consulting with its customers about introducing the satellite technology for use over the North Atlantic starting with operational trials from 2019 to deliver the capacity and safety benefits that the airspace requires to keep pace with demand.

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