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A joint venture between Canada’s air traffic control operator NavCanada and satellite company Iridium went live Tuesday with the first air traffic surveillance system capable of providing real-time global coverage.
The Aireon system is now in trial use over the North Atlantic, where it is being used by NavCanada and U.K. air traffic control operator NATS.
NATS and the air traffic control organizations in Italy, Ireland and Denmark are also investors in Aireon.
At a press conference Tuesday, Aireon CEO Don Thoma said that his company’s surveillance system will immediately improve the way air traffic flows across the world’s oceans.
“This is a historic achievement on par with some of the most significant advances in aviation,” Thoma said.