It took a review of additional data but Transport Canada now joins the global collection of aviation regulators that grounded the Boeing 737 MAX. That additional data came from satellite-based aircraft tracking provider Aireon, and Transport Canada is not the only regulator with the details.
After nearly three billion dollars invested and eight successful launch missions the Iridium NEXT constellation is nearly complete. In just a couple weeks the final swaps will take place and the full complement of 66 NEXT satellites will be online. For Iridium the milestone brings a dramatic shift in business plans and economics. CEO Matt Desch is clear that reducing CapEx is a key near-term goal and that the company will remain focused on its niche markets, "If we can offer that service at 22-100kbps with a very small antenna that can be installed into a small drone or an automobile or a sensor in the ocean, that will expand the market tremendously. That is not a market that anyone is talking
about. We believe Iridium NEXT and Certus is best positioned to deliver on that." But he also makes clear that neither of those plans is truly absolute. Expect to see Iridium "bleed into some things" that don't truly fit the mold. Inflight services is one vertical where Certus will likely disrupt the status quo.
Aireon’s space-based ADS-B tracking will know the location of every commercial aircraft. More important are the operational improvements it will bring to life.
It was called "Kiteline" and it was going to revolutionize the inflight passenger experience. A light weight connectivity solution with visions of delivering core functionality, the Kiteline concept is now being emulated by Lufthansa Systems, Iridium, AirFi, fflya and more. And, unlike Kiteline's failure nearly a decade ago, these solutions are now (finally) taking flight.
Processing more aircraft performance data faster means cost savings for airlines and a better ride for passengers. Norwegian and Astronics teamed up to deliver content to pilots’ tablets through a streaming solution that improves data processing both in real-time and over the long term. It also demonstrates a potential weakness in long-bandied plans for broader use of inflight wifi connectivity for aircraft operations data.
A big win today for aircraft monitoring and safety: Space-based ADS-B operator Aireon secured a $69 million investment from UK’s NATS to help fund operations. And the biggest winner might be Iridium, the satellite operator hosting the services.
Iridium has a target date for its 5th launch of Iridium NEXT satellites. With that event the company aims to pick up the pace, speeding towards completion of the new constellation.
Choosing to launch on a flight-proven SpaceX rocket earns Iridium a (mostly useless) mark on history. The company will be the first to launch multiple times on the same rocket.
Can a more immersive moving map experience turn more passengers into inflight shopping customers? A greater opportunity to both entertain and engage passengers is part of the proposition from FligthPath 360; and maybe some purchases, too.