Clare HQ for aircraft tracking from space

A centre that will be able to track aircraft in distress from space will be based at an Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) facility in Co Clare.

It has been confirmed the Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking (Aireon Alert) will be managed from the IAA’s North Atlantic Communications Centre in Ballygirreen, near Newmarket on Fergus.

Aerion, based in North Virginia in the US, is developing the world’s first space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Broadcast (ADS–B) global air traffic surveillance system which, it’s hoped, will eliminate the issue of ‘losing’ an aircraft like Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared last March.

The global emergency tracking solution will be provided free-of-charge, and will allow rescue agencies, air traffic control providers or airlines to request the location and last flight track of any ADS–B equipped aircraft in distress.

The service will complement ground-based air traffic surveillance systems by giving a new independent surveillance layer worldwide and by seamlessly relaying position and status information of aircraft flying over oceans, poles and remote regions to air traffic controllers.

The IAA is an Aerion project partner in developing the system.

IAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan said: “Aireon Alert is a crucial aircraft tracking service and is something that’s clearly lacking today as we’ve witnessed in recent times. Aireon Alert offers precisely the kind of service being sought by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines and other aviation bodies to help locate missing aircraft as fast as possible.

“I’m particularly pleased with the decision to locate the Aireon Alert facility at the IAA’s North Atlantic Communications Centre in Ballygirreen.”


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