LIVE FROM AIRSPACE WORLD 2024, GENEVA: Use of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications services were backed to have a major impact on the global air traffic management sector by Startical business development director Juan-Jose Cornejo-Fernandez (pictured).

Public-private partnership Startical plans to launch its own fleet of LEO birds and subsequently deliver an air traffic control management communications and surveillance platform from it.

Discussing its strategy, Cornejo-Fernandez explained with current ground-based air traffic management infrastructure, there are areas around the globe with coverage low enough to require increased separation between aircraft along some routes.

“What we are trying to do is provide the same services provided with ground infrastructure but based in space,” he added, noting the advantage of using LEO birds was the ability to provide 100 per cent coverage for communications and surveillance even in traditionally difficult locations.

The system will deliver VHF-based communications on spectrum approved for the service by the ITU in 2023.

Advantages expected to be delivered by using satellite communications include increased visibility and communication to aircraft, reduction in separation between aeroplanes, route optimisation and a cut in emissions.

Startical was formed in 2021 by air traffic management system provider Indra and Spain’s air traffic management agency ENAIRE. Trials of its service are set to be undertaken with a range of partners including specialist communications service provider SITA for Aircraft.

Alongside launching the constellation, it also requires various certifications and successful tests. Cornejo-Fernandez expects the venture to be offering services by 2030, with the technical aspects completed the year before.