NATS Invests in Aireon to Accelerate Development of Aircraft Surveillance System
U.K. air traffic management service provider NATS has invested in Aireon, the company working on a space-based air traffic surveillance service for the aviation industry. Through a network of 66 Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) Iridium Next satellites, Aireon will monitor the location of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft flying anywhere in the world. The service will offer global air traffic surveillance of aircraft, meaning that oceans and remote regions such as the poles, deserts and mountainous areas will have real-time aircraft surveillance for the first time.
The announcement of the $69 million investment, worth around 10 percent equity, was made at a press conference in Washington, D.C. near Aireon’s headquarters. At the same time, 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.