Iridium Eyes Big Market for New Aviation Connectivity Technology
The higher speed connections will be made available for the commercial airliner market, while lower speed terminals will target general aviation fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft
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By Woodrow Bellamy III
New aircraft terminals, a next-generation satellite network and support for a global air traffic surveillance system has Iridium CEO Matt Desch feeling confident about his company's future position in aviation. During Iridium's second quarter earnings call, the chief executive provided updates on Aireon's space-based ADS-B service and new L-band airplane terminals designed to provide speedier cockpit connections for pilots and flight operations departments.
Iridium's aircraft connectivity focus moving forward is centered around Certus, which is the company's multi-service communications platform designed to provide connectivity to multiple industries, especially maritime and aviation operators. The service will provide support for commercial airliners, and also lower cost hardware for general aviation fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.
Hardware suppliers for Certus are already rolling out the new terminals that will be equipped to ships and airplanes to provide connectivity. For example, in May, Cobham Satcom unveiled its first Iridium Certus connected terminal, the Sailor 4300, for maritime operators. At NBAA 2016, Thales unveiled its FlytLink connected cockpit and crew operational satellite-based connectivity platform, enabled by Certus.
"We kind of focus a bit more on the cockpit and operational services for airlines as opposed to the cabin. Certus will change that slightly, but still I think it is going to be primarily focused on the cockpit," said Desch.
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