Aireon LLC, developer of the first satellite-based global air traffic surveillance system, has announced a long-term commercial data services contract with Nav Canada, Canada’s civil air navigation service operator. Aireon will use the hosted payload space available on Iridium NEXT, Iridium Communications’ second-generation satellite constellation scheduled for first launch in 2015 to provide the service.
Aireon, a joint venture between Iridium and Nav Canada, will provide space-based air traffic monitoring services as the new constellation becomes operational, with full capability expected by 2017. The company is expected to pay USD 200 million in hosting fees to Iridium for the integration and launch of Aireon’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver payloads on each of its Iridium NEXT satellites. Aireon will also pay recurring data communications service fees to Iridium, expected to reach USD 300 million, or approximately USD 20 million annually once fully operational, over the life of Iridium NEXT, assuming Aireon continues to successfully expand beyond Nav Canada to a global business.
Aireon expects to generate recurring service revenue from air traffic control organisations, such as Nav Canada, by providing near-real time surveillance over the oceans and remote territories. This will enable air traffic controllers to safely grant more efficient flight levels and direct routing for flights over those regions, which would reduce fuel burn.