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The Irish Aviation Authority is a partner in Aireon LLC, a revolutionary space-based air traffic surveillance venture, along with Iridium (USA) and the air navigation service providers - NAV CANADA (Canada), ENAV (Italy) and Naviair (Denmark). The IAA currently holds a 3.75% stake in Aireon, which will increase to 6% by 2017.
The Aireon system uses Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) technology installed on a network of 66 'Iridium NEXT' satellites to receive and send aircraft positional tracking data, making it possible to extend next-generation coverage across the entire planet and will constitute the first truly global air transport traffic management and surveillance system.
With this technology, air traffic control services can be provided in nearly all parts of the globe from Ireland. It is a technological step change which will offer airlines significant fuel savings and fuel efficiencies of €100 million on the North Atlantic alone.
The Iridium NEXT satellites will be launched in 2016 and 2017, with the Aireon surveillance service being available to Air Navigation Service Providers in 2018.
Aireon will offer a space-based air traffic surveillance system to track flights in emergency situations as a free, public service to the global aviation community. Known as Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response (ALERT), the system will allow rescue agencies around the globe to request the location and last flight track of any suitably equipped aircraft flying in airspace currently without surveillance.
In February 2015, Aireon announced that its Aireon ALERT service will be managed from the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Centre in Ballygirreen, Co Clare.