Press Release

South Africa Marks Regional Milestone — Will Deploy Space-Based ADS-B In 2018

By SpaceRef Editor
December 8, 2015
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Aireon LLC, developer of the world’s first space-based global air traffic surveillance system, announced today that it has signed a data services agreement with Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), South Africa’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP). Through the agreement, ATNS will have 100 percent air traffic surveillance of the Johannesburg Flight Information Region (FIR) and the Cape Town FIR, which cover approximately 10 percent of the world’s airspace. This will be done through Aireon’s satellite-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) service, scheduled to be operational in 2018.

Today, over 70 percent of the world’s airspace is outside of any real-time air traffic surveillance, limiting it to mainly terrestrial and densely populated areas. This leaves the vast majority of remote, oceanic and mountainous regions without any real-time aircraft monitoring. ATNS has decided to implement space-based ADS-B to enable real-time visibility throughout their airspace. Increased visibility, coupled with real-time air traffic surveillance, improves both the safety and efficiency of air travel and gives air traffic control the ability to optimize airspace with more accurate, predicable data.

According to Thabani Mthiyane, chief executive officer, ATNS, “Aireon is providing the global air transport industry with a vital piece of technology that will greatly enhance air traffic management.” He added, “Much of Africa is currently without any air traffic surveillance. Aireon’s service will give us visibility into many regions, allowing us to facilitate seamless transitions between air traffic control providers. This will be achieved without any additional ground infrastructure and utilizing currently-mandated on-board avionics.”

“Once Aireon’s service is operational in 2018, our increased area of surveillance will allow us to work with our African neighbors to improve safety and air traffic efficiency across this region of the world,” concludes Mthiyane.

“ATNS demonstrates exceptional regional and global leadership in air traffic control. Their foresight to invest in a long-term solution to solve the issues of global air traffic surveillance will be welcomed across the African continent. We welcome ATNS as a launch customer and look forward to collaborating on the deployment of space-based ADS-B in the African region,” said Don Thoma, chief executive officer, Aireon.

ATNS signs their data services agreement on the heels of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) adopting a resolution for primary spectrum allocation of the 1090 MHz frequency band for use by satellite-based ADS-B. ATNS also joins additional Aireon(SM) launch customers, NAV CANADA, Italy’s ENAV, Ireland’s IAA, Denmark’s NAVIAIR, UK NATS and Curacao’s DC-ANSP.

About Aireon LLC

Aireon is deploying a global, space-based air traffic surveillance system for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft over the entire globe. For the first time, Aireon will provide real-time ADS-B surveillance to oceanic, polar and remote regions, as well as augment existing ground-based systems that are limited to terrestrial airspace. Aireon will harness next generation aviation surveillance technologies and extend them globally to significantly improve efficiency, enhance safety, reduce emissions and provide cost savings benefits to all stakeholders. In partnership with leading ANSPs from around the world, NAV CANADA, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), ENAV and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications, Aireon will have an operational, global, space-based air traffic surveillance system by 2018. For more information about Aireon, visit:

About ATNS

The Air Traffic and Navigation Service Company Limited (ATNS) is a South African State-Owned Company (SOC) Ltd, established in 1993 in terms of the ATNS Company Act (Act 45 of 1993) – to provide air traffic management solutions and associated services on behalf of the State. ATNS is responsible for air traffic control in approximately 10% of the world’s airspace. These services accord with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices, as well as the South African Civil Aviation Regulations and Technical Standards. ATNS is also a network provider for the VSAT Networks in Africa. The SADC VSAT II Network has been in operation since 1998 and has eliminated all communication deficiencies in the SADC region. This network is fulfilling the region’s communication requirements in terms of the ICAO Africa / Indian Ocean (AFI) plan. It has succeeded in integrating a regional communications network, contributing to increased communication allowing for greater safety on air traffic movements and is financially sustainable. The network covers 15 Southern and Central African states with links to Accra and Dakar, whilst the North East African Satellite (NAFISAT) network covers 13 countries in East and North African states. For more information about ATNS please visit

SpaceRef staff editor.