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Aireon and FlightAware Partner to Launch GlobalBeacon(SM) Airline Solution for ICAO Airline Flight Tracking Compliance

September 24, 2016 Technology No Comments Print Print Email Email

Aireon LLC and FlightAware today announced a new partnership and the launch of GlobalBeaconSM, a solution providing airlines with 100 percent global flight tracking. GlobalBeacon is designed to ensure airlines are in compliance with Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) recommendations and requirements. Announced by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in March of 2016, GADSS was created largely in response to the disappearance of MH370, and is designed to help prevent the loss of commercial aircraft in distress over remote locations. GlobalBeacon will provide airlines with minute-by-minute, global tracking of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft by 2018.

GlobalBeacon provides up-to-the-minute tracking of aircraft, worldwide.
GlobalBeacon provides up-to-the-minute tracking of aircraft, worldwide.

At the heart of GlobalBeacon’s capability is a combination of data from Aireon’s space-based ADS-B aircraft surveillance network, due to be operational by 2018, and FlightAware’s flight tracking web interface and worldwide flight tracking data — including origin, destination, flight plan route, position, and estimated time of arrival. When implemented, airlines will be instantly equipped to meet or exceed GADSS requirements and recommendations, with no new avionics required.

The core of the GADSS recommendations and requirements stipulate that aircraft report their position to their airline operations center no less than once every 15 minutes. Should an aircraft become in distress, however, position reports then must be provided every minute. GlobalBeacon will provide a permanent, real-time reporting capability, far exceeding the ICAO recommendation.  Implementation of GADSS provisions is expected by 2018.

“GlobalBeacon was created to help solve an important problem that has bedeviled the aviation industry since commercial flight began, and together Aireon and FlightAware are proud to offer a true solution,” said Aireon CEO, Don Thoma. “No other product can provide 100 percent global tracking, in real-time, without the cost of additional avionics equipage. We’ve already seen significant interest from airlines in this solution, and you can expect to hear a big announcement on that front in the coming days.”

In addition to aircraft location reporting, GADSS also requires aircraft to provide immediate notification of abnormal events, regardless of air traffic control regions and without sacrificing baseline search and rescue services. Other products may require additional equipment and for airlines to create and implement new distress activation procedures in the cockpit and on the ground. However, GlobalBeacon will offer a comprehensive one-size-fits-all global flight tracking solution for ADS-B equipped aircraft with no new required infrastructure, either in the air or on the ground. Further, existing FlightAware customers can seamlessly integrate GlobalBeacon with their current services.

GlobalBeacon will provide airlines with a web-based, real-time aircraft tracking dashboard that features configurable alerts, providing immediate notification of abnormal events. Should an aircraft deviate from its intended flight path, experience severe turbulence or stop transmitting location, the aircraft will automatically enter distressed status and immediately notify its airline operations center, who can take appropriate actions.

“With GlobalBeacon, airlines will have a single GADSS solution for all of their aircraft,” said FlightAware CEO,Daniel Baker. “Combining FlightAware’s vast airline flight tracking data with Aireon’s global space-based ADS-B surveillance capabilities will create the first 100 percent global solution for this difficult problem. The industry is about to take a tremendous technological leap forward in the name of safety, and we’re proud to lead the way.”

FlightAware will also be integrating Aireon’s space-based ADS-B surveillance data with its existing products including FlightAware Global and FlightAware Firehose, currently used by thousands of customers to track their aircraft. FlightAware Global provides real-time air traffic control data and RADAR data for flights to, from and within more than 55 countries. The addition of Aireon’s capabilities will provide FlightAware Global with 100 percent global coverage. FlightAware Firehose provides a secure streaming data feed of flight positions and flight status data via a combination of worldwide air traffic control data, ADS-B, and aircraft datalink information.

Aireon’s space-based ADS-B service will be operational in 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The constellation will consist of 66 operational low-earth-orbit satellites providing 100 percent global coverage. The service will also provide Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) with global aircraft surveillance capability, and is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety and enable more efficient flight paths.

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