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NAV Canada to invest $150M in plane tracking JV

The Associated Press

NAV Canada, which operates Canada's air navigation system, will invest up to $150 million in a joint venture with satellite communications provider Iridium Communications Inc. that will allow air traffic management agencies to continuously track aircraft anywhere in the world.

The companies said in June that they would be teaming on the joint venture, called Aireon LLC, but did not disclose the financial terms.

NAV Canada said Aireon's tracking capability could help airlines save on fuel costs and curtail emissions.

NAV Canada is paying the $150 million in five installments through 2017 for a stake of up to 51 percent, while Iridium would own 49 percent of Aireon.

Aireon will use receivers built into 66 Iridium satellites to provide continuous global monitoring and control of aircraft.

NAV Canada plans to use Aireon's services, starting with airspace in the North Atlantic. Iridium, based in McLean, Va., said Aireon has received "interest and support" from other air navigation service providers, such as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.