Aireon ALERT Announcement


The Aireon and The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) Press Conference was held 9 July 2019 at 10AM Irish Standard Time (5AM ET). Watch the full recording of the live event below.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact jessie.hillenbrand@aireon.com or Alec.ELLIOTT@IAA.ie.

Peter Kearney

Chief Executive Officer, IAA

Peter Kearney was appointed as Chief Executive and Board member of the IAA in June 2018. Placing innovation at the core of his leadership, Peter is keen to ensure that the IAA delivers best in class service to its customers and stakeholders and is regarded as a leader in the Irish aviation sector and amongst small to medium ANSPs.

Prior to being promoted to this role, Peter held a number of positions within the IAA. As Director of ATM Operations and Strategy between 2012 and 2018, Peter was responsible for all aspects of the IAA’s commercial Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP) business. In this role, Peter ensured that the IAA continued to deliver a safe, high quality service whilst also growing the IAA’s commercial revenue in a sustainable manner.

Peter has worked with the IAA since 1998, holding various management positions and also working initially as an Air Traffic Controller. He has a strong interest in innovation in ATM, being a key advocate of the IAA’s successful Remote Towers Project (which won the Single European Sky Award in 2017) and being heavily involved in Aireon, the IAA’s investment in the world’s first satellite based air traffic surveillance system.

Committed to strategic collaboration, Peter has been a strong supporter of COOPANS, the IAA’s world leading partnership with Naviair, LFV, AustroControl, Croatia Control and now NavPortugal. Peter has represented the IAA and Ireland at a range of European and International Fora, including ICAO, CANSO, EUROCONTROL and EASA and in negotiations with the European Commission.

Peter is a graduate of Harvard Business School as well as holding a Masters in Human Factors and Safety Assessment in Aeronautics from Cranfield University and a BSc. (hons) Business Management from Trinity College Dublin.

With a keen interest in aviation Peter is a qualified helicopter pilot.

Don Thoma

Chief Executive Officer, Aireon

Don Thoma is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aireon. Thoma held various senior leadership positions at Iridium Communications following his arrival in 2001, serving most recently as Executive Vice President of Marketing.

As Executive Vice President of Marketing, Thoma was responsible for strategic marketing of Iridium’s products and services, corporate communications and leading corporate initiatives related to the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.

Thoma currently serves as a member of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) Executive Committee, which is accountable for the overall performance of CANSO and served as Chairman of the Hosted Payload Alliance (HPA), an industry trade group that works to advance the use of hosted payloads on commercial satellites.

Prior to joining Iridium, Thoma served as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for ObjectVideo, Inc and has held various positions of responsibility at ORBCOMM, ranging from Senior Director of Transportation to Founder and General Manager of the Vantage Tracking Solutions Business Unit and Vice President of Business Development. Prior to ORBCOMM. Thoma’s experience included Director of Integration and Launch Operations for Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Thoma served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Space Division and holds a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Sean Patrick

General Manager Oceanic Services, IAA

Sean has recently been appointed as the General Manager Oceanic Services at the IAA North Atlantic Communication Centre. In this role Sean is responsible for the oversight of the strategic and tactical delivery of Oceanic Air Traffic Communications over the Eastern part of the North Atlantic, and has been tasked with rationalising the service to reflect the ongoing developments and advancements in satellite and data communications.

Previously, as the General Manager for IAA En Route Services he was accountable for the daily operational activity of the Shannon Area Control Centre, which is responsible for handling 90% of North Atlantic air traffic as it transits through Irish Airspace, Sean was part of the team responsible for the day-to-day safety and operational delivery of en route Air Traffic Control over Ireland. As General Manager Sean oversaw a number of exciting projects at the centre – most notably the introduction of Free Route Airspace, as well as changes to enhance capacity and operations. In 2018, Shannon centre saw its busiest year ever with more than 490,000 air traffic movements.

Sean has also worked in the IAA Airports business as Operations Manager at Cork and Shannon. Prior to joining the IAA Sean served in the Royal Air Force, as both an air traffic controller and senior squadron commander. This included tours at the London Air Traffic Control Centre (LATCC), where part of his responsibilities included the oversight of the transition of Military ATC services to the new Enroute Centre at Shanwick.