Now that Aireon is live, the company is entering a new world of maintaining the operations of the system and ensuring that safety for our customers is a #1 priority.
It’s a very big world out there and every airspace is different. As Aireon works with each Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) customer, we see unique benefits of what full air traffic surveillance service can do for them: how it can improve safety; how it can improve efficiency; and how it can improve the services that the ANSP provides for their airline customers. This process unveils a unique solution, each time, for each customer.
It’s been approximately two months since NAV CANADA and NATS began using space-based ADS-B data to separate aircraft in the North Atlantic Ocean, the world’s busiest oceanic airspace. This has been revolutionary for transatlantic flights. Air traffic controllers and airlines are optimizing operations and reducing the separation between aircraft, which introduces flexibility and enhances efficiency. The journey does not end in the NAT – implementation is continuously being rolled out in three phases for Edmonton and Gander. Following NAV CANADA and NATS, several other Aireon launch customers will go-live with space-based ADS-B in their airspace over the next two years.
There’s a lot of work going on behind-the-scenes to certify the performance of the Aireon data. In collaboration with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Aireon just received an organizational safety approval as an Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) to provide Air Traffic Management (ATM)/Air Navigation Service (ANS) surveillance services corresponding with the critical needs of ANSPs providing air traffic separation services through the EASA “Pan-European Certification”.
The Pan-European Certification certifies the safety of the Aireon service all the way from the receiving antenna on the Aireon payload to the entry point of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) reports at the customer site. This initial certification included two main investigations: organization aspects and functional system aspects, both of which included rigorous on-site audits and activities. Now that the official certification is complete and rewarded to Aireon, EASA will remain a partner through continuous oversight of the service for years to follow.
Some of the organizational aspects which were assessed by EASA are:
- Management System: organizational management, safety management, security, quality management, interfaces with stakeholders
- Financial strength, liability and insurance
- Working methods and operating procedures
- Personnel competency
- Contingency plans
- Occurrence reporting & investigations
Some of the functional system aspects which were assessed by EASA are:
- Demonstration of the safety of the services, documented in the corresponding safety case
- Functional and performance requirements (system verification results, including the on-orbit tests)
- Compliance with Interoperability Regulation (and applicable Implementing Rules)
- Compliance with ICAO Annex 10 SARPS
- Compliance with software assurance requirements (Reg. (EC) 482/2008)
Now that the certificate has been granted to Aireon, the continuous oversight process by EASA begins. Under the continuous oversight, Aireon will periodically be required to demonstrate that it meets applicable requirements of EU regulations.
The EASA certification speaks volumes to the high quality of the Aireon service and creates a backing of trust for those relying on this data for safety-of-life services. We’re looking forward to our long-lasting relationship with EASA to support their goal of a safer skies.