An aviation industry milestone was reached in March 2019 with the launch of space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B). This revolutionary system offers full continuous global air traffic coverage extending to the 70 percent of the world’s airspace that previously did not have air traffic surveillance.
Aireon is providing the first fully global air traffic service (ATS) surveillance system using a space-based ADS-B receiver network hosted on the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. Each ADS-B payload on the linked network of 66 satellites receives messages from equipped aircraft that include position, speed and heading. These position updates are received by NAV CANADA within two to four seconds of their broadcast by the aircraft transponder.
Space-based ADS-B offers a major leap in safety with early warnings and alerts to air traffic personnel of unexpected aircraft deviations. It also supports improved emergency response for tracking and locating aircraft in distress – especially important in Canada with its many remote areas and oceanic airspace.
More flexible and efficient use of airspace is a significant benefit for airlines – supporting new routes and separation standards resulting in shorter flight times and reduced fuel consumption, especially for transcontinental flights in the North Atlantic and over the North Pole, to Europe and Asia.
As space-based ADS-B service is deployed across Canada, it will support changes to airspace boundaries and sectors. The result will be improved capacity, new traffic flows that significantly reduce fuel burn and greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced safety benefits in all classes of airspace.