US-based company Aireon has signed a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Spanish air navigation service provider (ANSP) ENAIRE to assess the deployment of space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology.

Under the deal, the ANSP will start evaluating the safety, efficiency and environmental benefits of installing ADS-B technology in the Spanish airspace.

ENAIRE chief technology officer Enrique Maurer said: “ENAIRE already has extensive experience with ground-based ADS-B, making reviewing the capabilities of space-based ADS-B in both the European and Canary environment a very attractive option.

“We look forward to fully examining how space-based ADS-B could address the challenges associated with the European ADS-B mandate as well as its benefits to achieve a more cost-effective contingency layer.”

"ENAIRE operates complex and non-contiguous flight information regions that can benefit from the implementation of space-based ADS-B in various ways."

Aireon's space-based ADS-B system is slated to be completed next year, upon complete deployment of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation.

Aireon Engineering chief technology officer and vice-president Vincent Capezzuto said: “ENAIRE operates complex and non-contiguous flight information regions that can benefit from the implementation of space-based ADS-B in various ways.

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“In addition to real-time visibility into the challenging Canary flight information region (FIR), our system can offer a low barrier to entry for full ADS-B coverage in Spain's busy airspace.”

The Aireon technology will provide ANSPs with complete real-time surveillance of all their airspace for ADS-B equipped aircraft.

ENAIRE controls more than 2.2 million km² of airspace, which includes the North Atlantic, Western Mediterranean, the Iberian Peninsula, minus Portugal Ceuta and Melilla, the Canary and Balearic archipelago.

For the first time, the space-based ADS-B technology will provide ENAIRE with 100% real-time visibility for all of its airspace, including remote and oceanic regions.