2019: A Year In Review

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2019 is over, and what a ride! As expected, it was a transformational year for the company! We started the year on the Path to Operations and we ended up deeply immersed in all that it means to be operational. It is a major accomplishment!

As I mentioned in the final All Hands meeting of the year, sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture when we have our heads down doing our day to day tasks of the company. But when we pick our heads up, it is quite amazing to reflect on what we accomplished in a year and more importantly what we have learned.

We went into 2019 with a lot of pieces in place to be successful, but none of them were battle-tested. First, we had to contend with the challenge that our last launch was slipped to early January. Unfortunately, our two largest customers had time constraints on the other end. They needed to get the service in front of the air traffic controllers by April so they could get time on the system before their busy season in the summer. We took on that challenge and worked closely with NAV CANADA and NATS to complete the test and validation cycle in an efficient manner to ensure the performance of the system for operations. We had to do all of this in the context of the need to ensure adherence to stringent safety requirements. We didn’t do it alone - the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and our investors were a major help.

We also created a safety management system (SMS) from scratch and embedded it on all of our company’s processes from development, to operations, to HR and finance. Then we opened the books and let EASA test us on how well we subscribed and adhered to the SMS. This was an extremely detailed process that ended up with Aireon being the first-ever, non-ANSP to receive a certification for surveillance services in both an oceanic and en-route environment. A major accomplishment and bar we set for ourselves that gets raised every day.

Prior to March, operations were somewhat of an academic exercise for us. We did an amazing job creating a library’s worth of operating processes and procedures from scratch. Although we had the opportunity to test them out prior to March, we did not test them under fire until we were live and working with live air traffic environments. This is where the real learning began for us. Live operations demonstrated both the impact we were providing to our customers, but also areas where we needed to improve. We again were lucky to have investors, partners and customers help us through that process. It identified areas of our system, processes, procedures and communications that needed enhancing to deliver this mission-critical service. We embraced each of these challenges and worked as a team to implement the solutions to improve network robustness and availability.

The impact we had on our customer operations and services to the airlines and flying public was just as rewarding. In a short time period, the Aireon service became an indispensable tool for the controllers of NAV CANADA and NATS. They started to demonstrate the full potential of Aireon by delivering the more efficient altitudes, more efficient speeds and enhancements to safety (like reducing the time that aircraft inadvertently fly at the wrong altitude from 50 minutes to 5 minutes over the same period last year!)

On the customer front, we completed 9 ISATs, started revenue flowing from NAV CANADA and Enav and signed five new customers: Airports Authority of India (AAI), COCESNA (representing Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize), Papua New Guinea Services Limited (PNGASL), ASECNA exercised their option for the Dakar Oceanic airspace, and the FAA is activating the Miami Oceanic airspace. That brings us up to 15 customers representing 36 countries. One of the highlights of the year for me was the Aireon ANSP Customer Summit, where our ANSP customers shared with everyone their plans for Aireon. The most memorable part of the presentations was how our customers described our team and what we do.

“Controllers on a daily basis are saying how great space-based ADS-B data is. I can’t imagine what would happen if we took the technology away from them.”

“While the aircraft tracking update was expected to take 8 seconds, in some cases, we are seeing targets in 4 seconds and less.”

“There are huge safety benefits with space-based ADS-B.” “……a lost Australian bush aircraft was located within an area less than the size of Washington’s national mall.”

“The Aireon team is one of the best vendors we have ever worked with.”

On the commercial data services front, FlightAware has notified us that they now have over 5,500 aircraft under contract from over 140 airlines and aircraft operators. They are a meaningful part of our business. Aireon ALERT has been in operation for almost six months now. We now have over 341 active registrations, across 303 organizations and 119 countries. To date we have received 19 requests for data, data available provided on 10 occasions.

In 2019 we saw our team grow in multiple dimensions. We are now 72 people strong, representing a wide variety of disciplines. More importantly, we have grown as a team, both within our own personal disciplines and how we work together to help Aireon live up to its full potential.

We should always ask ourselves, “Are we demonstrating the key values that will make us successful? Are we Safety-minded, Mission Critical, Customer Centric, and Care about our team?” I think 2019 shows that we are well on our way and have a solid foundation for future success at Aireon.

We should all be proud of our successes in 2019 and be ready to use that learning to make 2020 an even more successful year. I thank everyone for all you have done for Aireon. I wish you all a healthy, happy New Year and I look forward to working with all of you in 2020.


Don Thoma, Chief Executive Officer


new customers


extended contract


paying ANSP customers


customers that went live


customers receiving data


countries deploying or set to deploy space-based ADS-B

~22 billion

ADS-B messages processed


unique aircraft tracked


service volumes added


satellite orbits from 66 operational satellites


flight tests


EASA certification: en route & oceanic


terabytes of storage

=884,000 hours, this is about 100 years of music!

$7.4 million

total dollar amount billed to customers


users with Aireon Dashboard access

308 GB

of data received



29% increase from 2018


Tweet Impressions

75% increase from 2018


Total Page Followers

36% increase from 2018


Total Reach of All Posts



98% increase from 2018




Channel Views

95% increase from 2018


Channel Subscribers

128% increase from 2018



Website views

34% increase from 2018


Unique Users

36% increase from 2018



Press releases distributed globally

2.6 billion

people reached


press release views

This timeline shows the total amount of flight hours worldwide, per day, in clear blue. The deep blue line at the bottom portrays the number of flight hours that Aireon is currently providing data for customers implementing the data or already being billed. When comparing the two, you can see that Aireon has immense opportunity to grow, as we are only servicing 11% of the global traffic customer base.

Notice how summer months have an increase in global flight traffic and also in the late months, the trend continues to rise. This shows that airlines are adding more flights and more aircraft are being equipped with ADS-B to comply with the approaching 2020 ICAO mandate.


new Aireon Network Operations Center

New ANOC built at the HQ office


customer tickets

Tickets received and sent from the service desk


hours of operational customer service support

24/7/365 hours of customer service


total number of pages of policy, processes and procedures

Aireon Technical Operations Manual: 187 pages, Aireon Integrated Management System Manual: 177 pages, Aireon Quality Assurance Manual: 59 pages, Aireon Security Requirements and Standards Manual: 300 pages


change control requests completed

Change Control Requests (CCR) are submitted to request a change to anything under Configuration/Change Management Control. This includes any software, hardware, configuration, or documentation changes that affect our Aireon Core Service (APD, HPOC, ADG), and supporting services (i.e. Jira, Confluence). They require safety, security, and technical assessments before they can be approved.


problem ticket reports (PTR) completed

Problem Tracking Reports (PTRs) are problems discovered through things like incidents and testing. They require an investigation and a Root Cause Analysis that usually leads to a defect being submitted and resolved through the CCR/REL process.


release requests completed

Release Requests (REL) are submitted to schedule a deployment of one or more CCRs per sub-system. They are classified as non-service interrupting or service interrupting. They require documentation, such as test artifacts to show that the changes have all been successfully tested. They also require EASA notification or approval based on the nature of the changes being deployed.


total management & process audits (launch to date)

Audits are conducted using checklists consisting of checkpoints. For L1 management audits, these checkpoints come from with a core questions set and our primary documents (Aireon Integrate Management System (AIMS), Technical Operations Manual, AIMS Annexes (e.g. Security, QA) and other guidance documentation (EASA, ISO, ITIL, etc.). L2 process audit start with a core question set for all processes and then delve into checkpoints that are derived from the actual process/procedure documents. Audits cover all Aireon functional areas, including our Contractors.


total reviews

Covers different categories of tickets created in the system. 289 customer tickets, 145 external and internal service requests, 732 incident reviews, 81 reviewed PTRS


vulnerability security scans

We conduct vulnerability scanning to identify security holes or potential points of exploit on our systems. The scan detects and classifies system weaknesses in hardware and software components that make up our systems and allows us to identify appropriate countermeasures.


discrete projects

Discrete projects are projects that are fairly isolated in scope. An example of a discrete project is the NOC transition— it is discrete to itself, meaning isolated and compartmented in the work deliverables and outcomes.


total tasks completed from all projects

72% of tasks this year were completed by due date, which is an 8% increase from 2018


of tasks this year were completed by due date

This is an 8% increase from 2018

Who registered with Aireon ALERT in 2019?


active Aireon ALERT registrants
(as of December 11)


registered airlines


registered ANSPs


registered regulators


registered rescue organizations


other registrants


requests for data through Aireon ALERT


countries participating in Aireon ALERT

FlightAware is already delivering Aireon’s space-based ADS-B data to over around the world.
In addition to GlobalBeacon, airlines and other aircraft operators are integrating the global real-time dataset
through our Firehose API and through FlightAware partners like SITAONAIR, IBM and Rockwell Collins.






corporate aviation operators

The North Atlantic Operations deployed March 28, 2019.
These figures have been recorded over the past several months.


flights per year in this airspace

2-3 second

target update rate, all being less than 8 seconds

0.19 seconds

average time for reports to reach a controller


more flights assigned their preferred route


flights were instructed to resume normal speed

Shanwick OCA


fewer level changes assigned to flights


fewer re-routes than in 2018


reduction in speed changes from 2018

Gander OCA


of flights received boundary requested flight level, speed and route compared to 64% in 2018


safety improvement of large height deviations


new office


new employees


increase of cubicles


increase of offices


increase of office square footage


increase in espresso brewing capability


more refrigerators at new office!


increase in new laptops and all-in-one computers


five-year work anniversaries


hours of training completed in EduBrite


Webex meetings


babies born

We close the year with 15 total ANSP customers, which includes 36 countries, and a total of 72 Aireon employees. Looking forward to next year, as the Aireon family continues to grow partnerships, customer relationships, services, team members and more.