Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications of McLean, Va., said July 11 that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will authorize aircraft operating over the ocean to use Iridium satellite data service for critical air traffic control communications.

The decision allows aircraft flying in FAA-controlled airspace to use Future Air Navigation Systems (FANS) 1/A over Iridium (FOI) to meet communications requirements for air traffic control.

“After five years of study, validation and extensive in-flight testing, we are thankful to all stakeholders that participated in this achievement,” Iridium Chief Executive Officer Matt Desch said in a statement. “We believe the FAA’s decision validates our position as the optimal satellite service for aircraft operational communications, and opens up significant new opportunities for Iridium in the aviation market. FOI, when implemented, has the potential to enable aircraft operators to reduce their capital investment by half.”



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