Iridium JV Finalizes Canada Air Traffic Surveillance Agreement; Matt Desch Comments

Matt Desch
Matt Desch

A joint venture including Iridium Communications has finalized an agreement with Canada’s civil air navigation service operator to provide air traffic surveillance services for commercial airlines in the country.

Aireon LLC will use hosted payload on the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, the first of which will go into space in early 2015 before scheduled full operational capability in 2017, Iridium said Monday.

Matt Desch, Iridium CEO, said the company is pursuing new revenue streams through Aireon and intends to help NAV Canada gain visibility of flight routes through the partnership.

The company expects Aireon to bring $200 million in hosting fees to Iridium as the company integrates and launches Aireon’s automatic dependent surveillance broadcast receiver payloads on the Iridium NEXT satellites.

Iridium also estimates it will receive $300 million in recurring data communications service fees from Aireon, averaging to $20 million per year once the constellation is fully operational.

John Crichton, NAV Canada’s president and CEO, estimates space-based aircraft surveillance could result in more than $125 million in annual fuel savings in the North Atlantic region.

The company intends for air navigation service providers to charge airlines at a fraction of their fuel savings to cover the cost of the service.

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