Published on July 10th, 2019 | by Mark Dwyer


The IAA and Aireon Launch Aireon Alert

The IAA team at the North Atlantic Communications Centre in Ballygirreen, Co. Clare have launched the world’s first ever global Aircraft Location and Emergency Response Tracking (ALERT) service. The Aireon ALERT technology can locate aircraft in difficulty anywhere in the world.

The first system of its kind in public service, Aireon ALERT provides Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), commercial aircraft operators/airlines, aviation regulators and search and rescue organisations the last known position of any aircraft globally. It allows for identification of an accurate position for an aircraft that is in an apparent state of distress or experiencing a loss in communication. Aireon ALERT connects with the aircraft’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS), which is already fitted to the majority of aircraft in the world. Until now, only 30% of the Earth’s surface was monitored through conventional ground radar surveillance). With Aireon ALERT, users now have access to exact location information for aircraft in distress on-demand, which will dramatically benefit global emergency response efforts.

Mr. Peter Kearney, CEO Irish Aviation Authority said that the IAA and Aireon teams had been preparing for this moment for a long time and were proud to host and operate the world’s first global aircraft locating system.

“The IAA has always been about innovation and service excellence. Our position, as a partner in Aireon and in the provision of this global service, further strengthens Ireland’s role as a key player in the global aviation industry. Our facility in Ballygirreen, Co. Clare is now providing the Aireon ALERT service 24 hours a day, every day. We are excited to play such a critical role in delivering this game-changing service to market. Building on our role as a key player in communications for the North Atlantic, we are now proud to be powering Aireon ALERT for the entire globe,” he said.

Operated by the IAA, Aireon ALERT is enabled by the AireonSM system, the world’s first global air traffic surveillance service. This system, which went live on 2nd of April 2019, monitors all ADS-B-equipped aircraft flying across the world.

“Now that the Aireon system is operational, we are thrilled to deliver this much-needed public service to the industry,” said Don Thoma, CEO of Aireon.

Don Thoma, CEO of Aireon and Peter Kearney, CEO of the IAA outside the North Atlantic Communications Centre in Ballygirreen, Co. Clare. Liam Burke/Press 22.

“Aireon ALERT can provide the most accurate and precise aircraft locating data for emergency and distress situations, free of charge. As the operator of the world’s only global aircraft surveillance system, we recognize our unique position to provide such a critical service to the aviation community and see it as our duty to provide this data to the proper authorities to assist in emergency situations,” he added.

Aireon ALERT users do not need to be customers of Aireon or the IAA to access the service; however it is important that all commercial aircraft operators/airlines, aviation regulators and search and rescue organizations register to ensure they can contact the 24/7/365 operations facility, in the event of an emergency, to obtain the last known position of its aircraft.

This data includes a map of the last 15 minutes of flight, with one plot per minute and a 4-dimensional report including altitude, latitude, longitude and time information. Based on the situation, additional tracking information may also be provided.  To register for Aireon ALERT, commercial aircraft operators/airlines, aviation regulators and search and rescue organisations can visit

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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