June 27, 2013 16:30 ET

NAV CANADA Makes Further Investment in Joint Venture for Global, Satellite-Based Aircraft Tracking

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 27, 2013) - NAV CANADA has invested an additional US $40 million in preferred interests of Aireon LLC, a joint venture with Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: IRDM). This investment increases NAV CANADA's ownership of Aireon to 18.7 per cent on a fully diluted basis.

Aireon's mandate is to take advantage of the hosted payload space on Iridium NEXT, Iridium's second-generation satellite constellation, to deliver global aircraft surveillance through Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers on the satellites. Aireon will provide space-based air traffic monitoring services to air navigation service providers (ANSPs) around the world as the new constellation becomes operational. The Iridium NEXT constellation is scheduled for first launch in early 2015 with full capability expected by 2017.

The new capability will extend air traffic surveillance to vast regions of the globe, promising a quantum leap in fuel savings and avoided greenhouse gas emissions for the world's airlines. The savings stem from the increased ability to use more optimal altitudes and routes, due to the expanded capacity of airspace formerly limited to less efficient procedural separation.

Agreements signed in November 2012 provide a path for NAV CANADA to acquire up to 51 per cent of Aireon. Under these agreements, NAV CANADA will purchase preferred membership interests that are convertible into common interests. The Company's investment will be made in five tranches, each subject to the satisfaction of various operational, technical, commercial, regulatory and financial conditions. The final tranche is scheduled for late 2017.

Payment for the first tranche - amounting to US $15 million and representing 5.1 per cent of Aireon - was made on November 19, 2012. The current investment, the second of the five tranches, gives NAV CANADA a further 13.6 per cent of the fully diluted equity of Aireon. The aggregate total investment by NAV CANADA in this venture is expected to be up to US $150 million. Options exist for NAV CANADA to acquire up to an additional 19 per cent of Aireon under certain circumstances.

"We are delighted to be advancing our participation in this exciting joint venture." said John Crichton, President & CEO of NAV CANADA. "There are significant safety, efficiency and environmental benefits of extending ADS-B surveillance to the remote areas of the world. We look forward to making improvements to the service we provide customers in our airspace. From discussions with airlines and other ANSPs, we know they are as excited as we are about the applicability of this service in other parts of the world."

In April 2013 NAV CANADA signed a long-term commercial data services contract with Aireon, making the Company Aireon's first customer. The ADS-B data will enable NAV CANADA to deploy this new satellite-based surveillance capability in its North Atlantic airspace operations - the busiest oceanic airspace in the world with some 1,200 flights per day. NAV CANADA estimates customer fuel savings on the North Atlantic alone of over $125 million per year as a result of this new capability, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions of 328,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents annually.

NAV CANADA manages the second largest air navigation service in the world by traffic volume, next to the FAA in the US. In its North Atlantic operation, NAV CANADA co-operates with other ANSPs such as the FAA, NATS and the Irish Aviation Authority.

NAV CANADA is the country's private sector civil air navigation service provider. With operations from coast to coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

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