A week's worth of space-based ADS-B flights captured by Aireon flying over the Indian Ocean between July 1 and July 7, 2019. Photo: Aireon
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will become the first air navigation service provider (ANSP) in South Asia to start operating space-based ADS-B, after signing a new contract with Aireon.
Under the agreement, Aireon will start providing AAI coverage of all ADS-B OUT 1090 MHz flights within the Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata’s oceanic airspace. These regions are located in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean and represent over six million square kilometers.
The three regions will provide surveillance for routes occurring between Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East and Europe.
“The decision to implement Aireon’s technology is not only a major step in improving safety and enhancing capacity for our flying public, but also ensures that as one of the globe’s fastest growing markets, we are planning for our continued growth,” said Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI.
The added ADS-B surveillance layer will help AAI manage the continued growth in air traffic occurring in India, as the nation is expected to surpass the U.K. as the world’s third largest market for commercial airline operations by 2025. India’s passenger traffic is also projected to surge to 278 million annual passengers while also accounting for 19.1 million new aviation jobs according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) latest 20-year global forecast.
Boeing also projects demand for 2,100 new airplanes worth $290 billion in India over the next 20 years.
AAI already manages ground-based ADS-B and radar surveillance for flight operations occurring within India’s terrestrial airspace system. Space-based ADS-B will be added as a new surveillance layer to their existing air traffic automation system.
According to a statement provided by a representative for Aireon, the space-based surveillance provider will establish telecommunications multi protocol label switching connections to the Mumbai and Chennai regions within the next few weeks. That will officially start the space-based surveillance data flow to AAI.
“This will then be followed by rigorous testing of the data and its integration in the Raytheon ATC Platform they use before operational introduction to the controllers,” the representative said.
The AAI contract signing comes three months after the Aireon service went live on April 2nd, 2019. With AAI moving forward towards full implementation of space-based ADS-B, set for year’s end, AAI will ensure India meets its growing capacity demand with the controller tools needed to provide the highest safety standards to its flying public. India will join 26 other countries who are actively deploying Aireon’s space-based ADS-B for air traffic surveillance.