NATS’ Astill to guide new Aireon ATFM business

Aireon has tapped a senior executive from the UK provider NATS for strategic support and expertise to develop its new Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) services line of business.

NATS’ Jonathan Astill will act as vice president and general manager of ATFM Services and will develop this business line, closely collaborate with introductory customers and establish a channel of partners to ensure a smooth rollout of the company’s offering.

Aireon is deploying the world’s first and only global space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) aircraft surveillance and tracking service, providing real-time aircraft visibility anywhere on the planet.

“Jonathan brings deep knowledge and expertise to Aireon at such a crucial moment for our company, as our system nears full operational status,” said Don Thoma, CEO, Aireon. “His extensive experience, working across multiple facets of the aviation industry, offers a unique perspective for this new line of business.”

Prior to taking on this new role, Astill served as director of alliances, airline and international affairs for NATS, where he was responsible for NATS’ global engagement across the aviation industry. His career with NATS spans 30 years, with the first 10 years of his career as an operational air traffic controller.

In the Aireon role, Astill will be responsible for all aspects of Aireon’s ATFM services, leading technical support, business strategy, operations, business development and service rollout.

Astill has already worked closely with Aireon on the deployment of its service in the UK. “I truly believe what Aireon is doing will change air traffic management and the aviation industry as a whole,” he said. “I am honoured to be working with Aireon at such an important time and look forward to getting started on their new business line.”

On January 11, 2019, the final Iridium NEXT launch successfully took place from SpaceX’s west coast launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Each Iridium NEXT satellite hosts an Aireon ADS-B payload. On February 6, 2019, Aireon formally took control of the final six payloads from Iridium Communications. With the final launch and payload handoff complete, Aireon is set to go live with its air traffic surveillance service in early Spring 2019.

Read United Kingdom’s NATS takes 10% Aireon stake