Aireon is an American company based in McLean, VA, that develops, deploys, and operates the world’s first and only 100% global air traffic surveillance system. Aireon’s groundbreaking technology utilizes satellite-based receivers with the ability to monitor any commercial flight, at anytime, anywhere in the world. Transmitting signals every half-second from the aircraft, the “ADS-B” data is utilized by Air Traffic Controllers to identify and separate aircraft in real time – constituting a seismic leap forward in air traffic safety, efficiency and predictability, while reducing overall infrastructure costs.
Fieldstone’s link to Aireon precedes its founding, having served as a financial advisor to Iridium Holdings, and its successor, Iridium Communications Inc., beginning in 2004. Iridium operates the largest commercial satellite constellation in the world, and the only one to generate secure voice and data communication to all parts of the globe. In 2011, Iridium retained Fieldstone to help optimize a hosted payload for its 81 new cross-linked Iridium NEXT satellites, that would provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to monitor aircraft on a global scale. Fieldstone’s preparation of the business plan, assistance with the competitive process to select a payload manufacturer, and contract negotiations with strategic partners led to the creation and financing of Aireon LLC. Founded in 2012 as a joint venture between Iridium and NAV CANADA, (which agreed to fund $150 million in equity), Aireon’s eighth and final payload was launched by Iridium in 2019. The Aireon system is now up and operating successfully.
With the emergence of Aireon, every airspace in the world will have access to continuous, 100 percent global air traffic surveillance. Airlines are able to optimize flight paths and altitudes, saving significant amounts of fuel. With the number of airline passengers expected to double by 2035, Aireon’s satellite-based ADS-B system will enable more capacity, with more efficient air traffic flow management, and more ability for air traffic controllers to adjust flight paths to avoid weather or other world events. And because Aireon’s system integrates seamlessly into existing air traffic management automation platforms, it will dramatically reduce the need for major ground-based investments in infrastructure.