Wings Magazine

Aireon receives $120 million boost from navigation providers

Dec. 20, 2013, McLean, Va. - Aireon LLC announced today that it has entered into a binding agreement with three major Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to make a $120 million investment in the new service that Aireon will provide.

December 20, 2013  By Carey Fredericks

The new ANSP investors, ENAV (Italy), the Irish Aviation Authority, and Naviair (Denmark), are responsible for providing air traffic control service in some of the busiest airspace in Europe.  With this agreement, combined with the previously announced $150 million commitment from NAV CANADA, Aireon is well positioned to build and launch the world’s first space-based global air traffic surveillance system, extending Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) coverage and benefits to every flight path across the planet.

In addition, the new investors are expected to become long-term customers of the Aileron data service and to participate in the global deployment and sales of Aireon’s space-based ADS-B offering.

“We are excited to see continued interest from ANSPs in becoming both investors and commercial partners of Aireon, the first ever global air traffic surveillance service,” said Don Thoma, president and CEO, Aireon.  “By providing the capability to continuously track aircraft anywhere in the world, Aireon is poised to transform the aviation industry.  We look forward to collaborating with our partners as we work to build the system, launch it into orbit and make Aireon a reality.”

The investment in Aireon by the three additional ANSPs will be made in four tranches between 2014 and 2017 as key milestones are met, and will be in the form of preferred interests.  The financing comes on top of the investments already made by the current joint venture participants, NAV CANADA and Iridium Communications Inc.  In 2018, a portion of Iridium’s interest will be redeemed for a payment from Aireon of $120 million to finalize the ownership interests.  Upon this redemption, NAV CANADA will hold 51 percent of the fully diluted ownership of Aireon, ENAV will hold 12.5 per cent, and each of IAA and Naviair will hold 6 per cent ownership, with 24.5 per cent being retained by Iridium.   


“ENAV is happy to invest in a service that will change the history of air traffic control, as Aireon will deliver significant value to the aviation industry through increased efficiency, extended safety, and reduced environmental impact,” said Massimo Garbini, CEO, ENAV.  “We are proud to join Aireon in this global venture as an investor, and ultimately endeavor to become a commercial partner and a customer of the space-based ADS-B service.”

“Providing airlines with the most optimal trajectories and ensuring that they fly safely through our skies is paramount to our mission as an ANSP,” said Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive, Irish Aviation Authority.  “Aireon will deliver significant benefits to airlines flying in remote and oceanic airspace all around the world.  By joining together with NAV CANADA, ENAV, and Naviair, we are creating a network of partners that understand the importance of extending ADS-B coverage and benefits to every flight path across the planet.”  

"For Naviair, Aireon represents the future of air traffic surveillance, and we are excited to play a role in deploying this technology on a global basis," said Morten Dambaek, CEO, Naviair. "We see a great potential and many opportunities in using the technology in connection with our future activities in Greenland – one of the world’s largest Flight Information Regions (FIR) – where we are looking forward to improving the surveillance significantly."

“We are very pleased to welcome ENAV, the IAA and Naviair to the Aireon joint venture,” said NAV CANADA President & CEO John Crichton.  “Today’s announcement is a strong endorsement of the core Aireon promise – to extend the benefits of air traffic surveillance over the world’s oceans and remote areas, and in doing so to allow the world’s airlines to achieve substantial fuel savings while reducing GHG emissions.  In the North Atlantic airspace alone, space-based ADS-B should enable fuel savings of $125 million per year once the new capability is in place.”

These agreements further exemplify the support that Aireon is receiving from leading ANSPs around the world.  Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NAV CANADA signed a Declaration of Intent for cooperation on the implementation of space-based ADS-B in their respective airspace.  Aireon fully expects to garner support from the FAA, as well as other ANSPs that can benefit from the global air traffic surveillance capability.  Airlines that are members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have also shown their support through participating in the first Space-based ADS-B Advisory Committee (SAAC), a group of key stakeholders from across the aviation industry that are tasked with providing input, guidance and critical operational insight to Aireon as it prepares for deployment.


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