Air navigation service provider (ANSP) Airways New Zealand and Aireon have signed an agreement to cooperate on the South Pacific operational validation trial.

This agreement is expected to lead to a formal operational validation agreement, which in turn will enable the development of cross-regional air traffic management procedures in South Pacific airspace.

The operational concepts will be developed using the space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data to leverage the effectiveness and safety features of a global air traffic surveillance capability.

Airways chief executive officer Ed Sims said: “Once we have completed the formal agreement we will, over the next three years, work with Aireon to investigate how satellite-based surveillance could enhance our air traffic management services in the South Pacific airspace.

“We are looking forward to seeing how continuous monitoring via satellite could provide enhanced safety, traffic flow and efficiency benefits to our customers."

“We are looking forward to seeing how continuous monitoring via satellite could provide enhanced safety, traffic flow and efficiency benefits to our customers.”

This agreement was signed after 20 months of execution of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between both the parties to carry out a benefit analysis of deploying space-based ADS-B in their region.

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Airways also intends to use Aireon data to identify the ideal cost-effective configuration of planned terrestrial-based ADS-B installations which are complemented with space-based ADS-B.

Aireon CEO Don Thoma said: “We have worked closely with Airways to determine the possible applicability of space-based ADS-B in the South Pacific.

“Airways is known for their strong desire to deliver value to their customers, and we look forward to taking the next step to assess the potential for deployment of space-based ADS-B in their region.”

Aireon’s system is expected to become operational next year after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. 

The service will deliver real-time flight tracking service to airlines and ANSPs with global air traffic surveillance.

The system is expected to increase safety and fight-path efficiency and reduce fuel costs.