Agreement creates low-cost rival to Jeppesen and Lido

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reached an exclusive agreement with Space Imaging to sell aviation geospatial products derived from high-resolution satellite imagery to airlines and airports. Under the three-year agreement, Space Imaging and IATA will develop and market airport imagery for use in route planning, flight training and procedures development.

The agreement establishes Montreal-based IATA as a low-cost source of satellite imagery in competition with flight data providers like Jeppesen and Lido, says Dejan Damjanovic, Space Imaging's manager of air and marine transport. IATA will pay a single flat fee for images, which it will then be able to share across all 270 member airlines. The non-royalty fee agreed by IATA and Space Imaging compares with the commission-based price charged by other flight data providers, which do not have access to their own satellite imagery, he says. Imagery will be available to non-member airlines at retail price, providing an incentive for them to join IATA, Damjanovic says.

The aviation geospatial products combine Space Imaging's 1m (3ft) -resolution satellite imagery with IATA's existing airport and obstacle database. Stereo imagery from the Ikonos satellite will be used to visualise obstacles and validate their height to within 10ft, says Damjanovic. Airlines are increasingly using geospatial information for route planning, including familiarisation with new airports, and procedures development, including noise abatement, required navigation performance and vertical navigation procedure design, he says.

Examples of the use of satellite imagery include the development of procedures for unfamiliar airports to be used as alternates on extended-range polar flights, says Damjanovic. Geospatial information derived from satellite imagery is also being used in cockpit electronic flight bags, for airport moving maps, and in flight simulator visual systems. Airlines will be able to acquire imagery for these applications at a cost that is shared among IATA users. Space Imaging expects to produce data on at least 1,000 airports a year, and IATA has established a steering committee to determine the highest-priority airports.



Source: Flight International