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Aireon signs MoU with Saudi Air Navigation Services
Falcon 9 lifts off with Iridium NEXT satellites carrying the Aireon ADS-B hosted payload. © SpaceX

Aireon signs MoU with Saudi Air Navigation Services

Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) will begin benefit assessments on safety and efficiency of deploying Aireon space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in Saudi airspace.

Aireon has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS), Saudi Arabia’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), which manages one of the largest and busiest airspaces in the Middle East. Through this MoU, SANS will develop and analyze a concept of operations for space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) as an additional layer of surveillance. Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system is completely independent of traditional ground-based services.

SANS is responsible for the provision of air navigation services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SANS is actively investing in airspace modernization concepts and will begin space-based ADS-B benefits analyses within the coming months.

With the Aireon space-based ADS-B data, SANS anticipates extending real-time air traffic surveillance throughout the entire region, making ADS-B equipped aircraft position information available regardless of terrain or ground infrastructure.

According to SANS Chairman of the Board, Abdullah Alsuweilmy, “Deploying space-based ADS-B is an opportunity to optimize air traffic flow, while reducing the current separation minima and providing significant airline benefits. Space-based ADS-B will also help us increase safety for all aviation stakeholders and the flying public.”

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast, the Middle East will see an extra 244 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region by 2035.

The second batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, carrying the Aireon space-based ADS-B payloads, was successfully launched and deployed on 25th June.  The second launch increased the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 20, with another 55 destined for space in a series of six additional launches planned over the next twelve months. 

Aireon has recently performed ADS-B flight tests with the FAA and Thales.

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