The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of Hong Kong announced this week that it will roll out operational use of AireonFLOW for air traffic flow management. (Photo: Wilfred Y Wong / Getty Images)
The skies above Hong Kong are notoriously busy. In fact, Hong Kong International Airport—one of the world’s busiest hubs—hosts more than 35 arrivals and departures hourly while managing over 400,000 aircraft movements annually. To handle so many aircraft at once, The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of Hong Kong announced that its air navigation service provider (ANSP) will begin utilizing AireonFlow for managing air traffic flow.
Collaborating with ANSPs across the world, Aireon has revolutionized air traffic control management through the creation of the world’s first global air traffic surveillance system. It has done this through the use of satellites and a space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance broadcast (ADS-B). Using satellites from Iridium Communications, its technology can collect data emitted by aircraft every half second and deliver it to air traffic controllers to use as they manage traffic flow.
AireonFlow is one of several of Aireon's products designed to modernize air traffic control. This support tool allows ANSP to access data regarding aircraft positioning for flights beyond their Flight Information Region (FIR) and Area of Responsibility (AoR) without having to sign data-sharing agreements with other surrounding countries. It also helps air traffic controllers with flow management through increased prediction capabilities that stem from accurate surveillance data. This resource will allow Hong Kong’s ANSP to receive position updates on aircraft once per minute.
In addition to being home to one of the world’s busiest airports, Hong Kong’s geography brings a high level of overflight traffic (traffic which passes through Hong Kong’s airspace without touching down on its soil). Now more than ever, Hong Kong is in need of new technology to aid it as air travel markets across the world grow. While demand faltered significantly in eastern Asia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has since made a strong rebound as more passengers take to the skies across the region.
As CEO of Aireon Don Thoma explained, “CAD Hong Kong is a leader in air traffic management and has been a strong proponent of space-based ADS-B since 2020, and we’re looking forward to seeing how CAD Hong Kong will reap operational efficiencies and safety improvements using our data.”
As demand for air travel returns and more aircraft take to the skies over Hong Kong, the country must ensure that its technological infrastructure can handle the over 1,100 daily flights its airport accommodates every day. The employment of AireonFlow will allow it to do this while modernizing the country’s air traffic control system.