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A satellite-based air traffic surveillance system that went live this month over the North Atlantic will track the position of planes every eight seconds, which analysts, air traffic control entities and the company that developed the system say is likely to be transformational for passenger aviation.
“We haven’t seen improvements in capabilities like this since we went from non-radar to radar,” said Pete Dumont, CEO of the Washington-based Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA), whose stated mission is to preserve flight safety and enhance the science of air traffic control.
On April 2, Aireon, a joint venture of Canada’s air navigation system provider, Nav Canada, and the satellite company Iridium, launched the first air traffic surveillance system capable of providing real-time global coverage. The U.K.’s air traffic control entity, NATS, and air traffic control organizations in Italy, Ireland and Denmark are also investors in Aireon.