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TMCNet:  NAV CANADA to invest in global, satellite-based aircraft tracking

[November 21, 2012]

NAV CANADA to invest in global, satellite-based aircraft tracking

Nov 21, 2012 (TELECOMWORLDWIRE via COMTEX) -- NAV CANADA said it has signed an agreement finalising the terms of its participation in Aireon LLC, a joint venture with Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM), previously announced June 19, 2012.

Aireon's mandate is to provide satellite-based surveillance capability for air navigation service providers (ANSPs) around the world. Aireon will deliver this global aircraft surveillance through Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers built as an additional payload on Iridium NEXT, the second generation satellite constellation to be launched by Iridium in the 2015-2017 period.

The new capability will extend air traffic surveillance to vast regions of the globe, promising a quantum leap in fuel savings and avoided greenhouse gas emissions for the world's airlines. The savings stem from the increased ability to use more optimal altitudes and routes due to the expanded capacity of airspace formerly limited to less efficient procedural separation.

The agreement provides for NAV CANADA to acquire up to a controlling interest in Aireon, currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Iridium. Under the agreement, NAV CANADA will purchase series A preferred membership interests representing up to 51 per cent of the fully diluted equity of Aireon. The aggregate total investment in this venture is up to US $150 million.

This investment will be made in five tranches, each subject to the satisfaction of various operational, commercial, regulatory and financial conditions. Payment for the first tranche - amounting to US $15 million and representing 5.1 per cent of the fully diluted equity of Aireon - was made on November 19, 2012. The final tranche is scheduled for late 2017.

NAV CANADA estimates customer fuel savings on the North Atlantic alone of over $100 million per year as a result of this new capability, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions of 263,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents annually. Said Crichton: "ADS-B is a proven technology with proven benefits. The level of future savings to airlines and aircraft operators will quickly recoup our planned investment thus providing this project with a strong business case based on customer and environmental benefits." Once Aireon's data service is established, other ANSPs will be able to subscribe to the Aireon service for their own flight information regions.

NAV CANADA is the country's private sector civil air navigation service provider.

Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time.For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.

Comments on this story may be sent to tww.feedback@m2.com

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