SA to deploy space-based ADS-B traffic surveillance system in 2018


South Africa’s air navigation service provider Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) has signed an agreement with Aireon to receive its space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) service to monitor air traffic in the Johannesburg and Cape Town Flight Information Regions.

These regions cover approximately 10 percent of the world’s airspace. ATNS on Monday said the agreement will allow for 100 percent air traffic surveillance in those areas through Aireon’s satellite-based service scheduled to be operational in 2018.

Today, over 70 percent of the world’s airspace is outside of any real-time air traffic surveillance, limiting it to mainly terrestrial and densely populated areas. This leaves the vast majority of remote, oceanic and mountainous regions without any real-time aircraft monitoring. ATNS said it has decided to implement space-based ADS-B to enable real-time visibility throughout its airspace. Increased visibility, coupled with real-time air traffic surveillance, improves both the safety and efficiency of air travel and gives air traffic control the ability to optimize airspace with more accurate, predicable data.

According to Thabani Mthiyane, chief executive officer, ATNS, “Aireon is providing the global air transport industry with a vital piece of technology that will greatly enhance air traffic management.” He added, “Much of Africa is currently without any air traffic surveillance. Aireon’s service will give us visibility into many regions, allowing us to facilitate seamless transitions between air traffic control providers. This will be achieved without any additional ground infrastructure and utilizing currently-mandated on-board avionics.”
“Once Aireon’s service is operational in 2018, our increased area of surveillance will allow us to work with our African neighbours to improve safety and air traffic efficiency across this region of the world,” concludes Mthiyane.
“ATNS demonstrates exceptional regional and global leadership in air traffic control. Their foresight to invest in a long-term solution to solve the issues of global air traffic surveillance will be welcomed across the African continent. We welcome ATNS as a launch customer and look forward to collaborating on the deployment of space-based ADS-B in the African region,” said Don Thoma, chief executive officer, Aireon.

ATNS signed the data services agreement on the heels of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) adopting a resolution for primary spectrum allocation of the 1090 MHz frequency band for use by satellite-based ADS-B. ATNS also joins additional AireonSM launch customers, NAV CANADA, Italy’s ENAV, Ireland’s IAA, Denmark’s NAVIAIR, UK NATS and Curacao’s DC-ANSP.

ADS–B is a cooperative surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked. The information can be received by air traffic control ground stations as a replacement for secondary radar. It can also be received by other aircraft to provide situational awareness and allow self separation.