Aireon has signed a regional commercialisation agreement with Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) to improve the use of space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data across South Africa.

The agreement will develop infrastructure facilitating the use of space-based ADS-B data in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

It will also strengthen ATNS’s role in the SADC as the operator of the regional very small aperture terminal (VSAT) network, which is used to transmit space-based ADS-B data to remote locations over satellite links.

Aireon CEO Don Thoma said: "The signing of this commercialisation agreement marks another milestone toward delivering global air traffic surveillance through space-based ADS-B, while fortifying the strategic partnership between Aireon and ATNS.

"Africa has some of the most remote regions in the world, making this technology immensely valuable for those with limited infrastructure."

"For the first time, the entire region will have access to real-time air traffic surveillance data, which in this region – given its vast land mass and oceanic airspace, will become a driving force for enhanced safety and operations."

The agreement will provide surveillance capabilities to regions where ground-based communications are prohibited.

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ATNS will also collaborate with regional air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to develop a regional flow control solution for the existing SADC VSAT network.

The solution will reduce costs and provide operational benefits to airlines and ANSPs in the region.

ATNS CEO Thabani Mthiyane said: "Africa has some of the most remote regions in the world, making this technology immensely valuable for those with limited infrastructure.

"We will now give them the option to have total air traffic surveillance, without the need to build anything on the ground. This might be a game-changer for the region."