MRO Magazine

Avanti Leads Pan-African Aviation Project Powered by Satellite Technology

March 27, 2015
By Business Wire News


Avanti Communications has been appointed by the UK Space Agency to deliver a crucial air navigation project in Africa, SBAS-AFRICA, powered by satellite technology. The leading satellite operator has been awarded the contract under the agency’s International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP), which exists to open up opportunities for the UK space sector to share expertise in real-world satellite technology and services overseas.

Africa has just 3% of global air traffic, and yet air accidents in Africa account for roughly 20% of the worldwide total.[1] By demonstrating potential improvements in flight safety via SBAS technologies, the project can provide socio-economic benefits to the continent.[2] Based on prior cost-benefit modelling[3] which identified a €1.7bn potential economic benefit to the African aviation sector from the deployment of SBAS services, SBAS-AFRICA will help accelerate the adoption of GNSS-based flight operations, positively influence the evolution of aviation safety in Africa and encourage development in the wider African economy.

SBAS-AFRICA will deliver a satellite based augmentation system for GNSS-based operations in the aviation sector, serving significant parts of Africa in partnership with a number of local stakeholders.[4]  The project will use a unique asset, Avanti’s ARTEMIS L1 Navigation transponder, to provide a navigation data broadcast service.

Matthew O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer at Avanti Communications, commented: “SBAS-AFRICA brings an innovative and pragmatic approach to deploying SBAS services in Africa. It establishes crucial collaboration between the UK and a number of African countries, including South Africa and Ghana. Participating countries will benefit hugely from expertise gained, placing them at the forefront of navigation services across the continent and, crucially, helping to improve aviation safety for a major generator of economic benefit in Africa.”

He continued: “The Artemis satellite will play an integral role in this project. We expect that such a showcase for its performance, accuracy and quality will provide further evidence of what can be achieved with this technology and lead to significant commercial opportunities.”

Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK Space Agency is delighted to play a role in fostering new international partnerships that not only enable innovative UK space companies like Avanti to provide more high-tech exports that can boost our space sector but also allow the UK to widely share the considerable social and economic benefits that space technology and infrastructure can provide.”



[1] In 2013, the continent once again reported the world’s highest rate of fatal commercial aviation accidents. (Source: affiliate of the Flight Safety Foundation)

[2] The airline industry in Africa is a major generator of economic wealth. It supports 6.7 million jobs and business activity totals $67.8 billion. Each year 67 million people fly on 762,000 flights that connect to Africa’s 371 commercial airports.

[3] The ESESA project which was co-funded by the EU, studied the deployment of EGNOS/SBAS services in South and Southern Africa and identified that the potential economic benefit to African Aviation from the deployment of EGNOS/SBAS services amounted to €1.7bn, achievable through the reduction of Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) occurrences, improvement of ADS-B and phasing out of traditional navigational aids.

[4] Local partners include: NSL, TAS UK, the South African Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company (ATNS), the South African Space Agency (SANSA), Ghana Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA).

About Avanti Communications

Avanti connects people wherever they are – in their homes, businesses, in government and on mobiles. Through the HYLAS satellite fleet and more than 150 partners in 118 countries, the network provides ubiquitous internet service to 27 per cent of the world’s population. Avanti delivers the level of quality and flexibility that the most demanding telecoms customers in the world seek.

Avanti is the first mover in high throughput satellite data communications in EMEA. It has rights to orbital slots and Ka-band spectrum that cover an end market of over 1.5bn people.

The Group has invested $1.2bn in a network that incorporates satellites, ground stations, datacentres and a fibre ring. Avanti has a unique Cloud based flexible customer interface that is protected by patented technology. The Group has three satellites in orbit and a further two fully funded satellites under construction. Avanti Communications is listed in London on AIM (AVN:LSE).


About the UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

The Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in the space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. It leads the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefits to all citizens.

The UK Space Agency:

Co-ordinates UK civil space activity

Encourages academic research

Supports the UK space industry

Raises the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad

Increases understanding of space science and its practical benefits

Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers

Licences the launch and operation of UK spacecraft

Promotes co-operation and participation in the European Space programme


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Avanti Communications
Laura Hegarty
+44 (0)207 749 1600