[SatNews] ..."poised to revolutionize air traffic management and the aviation industry as a whole."
Aireon LLC, developer of the world's first space-based global air traffic surveillance system, announced today that it has closed the previously announced investment transaction with three new investors and major Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs): ENAV (Italy), the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), and Naviair (Denmark), and has received their first tranche investment totaling $50 million. As previously disclosed, the new investors will contribute a total of $120 million between 2014 and 2017 for equity in Aireon. With these investments, combined with the $150 million investment from NAV CANADA, Aireon expects to be able to meet the capital requirements to build and launch the Aireon system.
"We are pleased to have ENAV, IAA and Naviair officially join Iridium and NAV CANADA as partners in Aireon," said Don Thoma, president and CEO, Aireon. "By bringing together four major ANSPs as investors, partners and advisors, Aireon is poised to revolutionize air traffic management and the aviation industry as a whole. The expertise and value our new investors will bring to this project is unmatched, and we are excited to sign them on as future customers of the Aireon(SM) service."
In conjunction with the closing of the initial investment, the new investors signed long-term data services agreements to become customers of Aireon and are expected to participate in the deployment and marketing of Aireon's space-based ADS-B offering globally. Aireon will also add two representatives of the new investors to its Board of Directors, and the equity of the company will be amended as follows:
Iridium will retain approximately 75.2 percent ownership, NAV CANADA will retain 17.3 percent ownership and the new investors collectively hold approximately 7.5 percent ownership in Aireon. In 2018, a portion of Iridium's interest will be redeemed for a payment from Aireon of $120 million to finalize the ownership interests. Upon this redemption, NAV CANADA will hold 51 percent of the fully diluted ownership of Aireon, ENAV will hold 12.5 percent, and each of IAA and Naviair will hold 6 percent ownership, with 24.5 percent being retained by Iridium.
Aireon is a joint venture between Iridium Communications Inc., NAV CANADA, ENAV, IAA, and Naviair, established to launch the Aireon system by hosting ADS-B receiver payloads on Iridium NEXT, Iridium's second-generation satellite constellation, scheduled for first launch in early 2015. This new capability will extend the benefits of current land-based air traffic surveillance systems, which are estimated to cover less than 10 percent of the world, to the oceanic and remote regions of the entire planet.