2019 Predictions: The Year to Expect More of Flight Tracking and ADS-B


In an ongoing series on Connected Aviation Today, our editorial team has been speaking with various leaders in the aviation industry to discuss their reflections on 2018 and predictions in 2019. In our latest piece, we caught up with Daniel Baker, founder and CEO of FlightAware, a data company that provides 10,000 aircraft operations and service companies with flight tracking solutions.

In recent years, flight tracking has been modernized. Traditionally, flight tracking over oceans, deserts, and other remote regions required hardware to be installed on aircraft along with a datalink subscription. New modernized global flight tracking leverages space-based ADS-B, enhancing flight tracking capabilities and allowing for operators to meet recent GADSS recommendations. Baker reflects on the technologies and evolution of connected aviation in 2018 and highlights where he expects to see changes in 2019.  Read the full interview below:

Connected Aviation Today (CAT) Editors: Before we talk about 2019, let’s reflect on 2018. What technologies made a significant impact on connected aviation last year?

Daniel Baker, Founder and CEO of FlightAware

Daniel Baker: Without a doubt, Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network represents a tremendous leap forward for the industry. From a safety perspective, it enables airlines to economically exceed the GADSS standards for flight tracking – including the components that go into effect in 2021. The completed network will also support optimization and reliability by enhancing airlines’ situational awareness.

CAT Editors: What challenges do we still face?

Baker: Since most disruption happens on the ground, we really need better visibility into an aircraft’s movement before and after takeoff and landing. We are rapidly growing our terrestrial ADS-B network to improve coverage on the surface of airports and at FBOs around the world. Not only will this help our customers optimize their operations, it will also enable us to build better predictive models for ETAs, ETDs, and OOOI events.

CAT Editors: Now that we are in 2019, let’s look at what’s ahead for this year. What technologies and solutions do you believe will make a significant impact on the connected aviation ecosystem in the new year?

Baker: With the completion of the Aireon space-based ADS-B network, we expect more and more airlines to leverage it through one of our products like our Firehose API, GlobalBeacon and partners like Collins Aerospace.

CAT Editors: Is there expected legislation, regulation, or guidelines in place that will help propel the industry along?

Baker: GADSS is the big one. As regulatory agencies around the world mandate compliance with it, the modern flight tracking it prescribes will become the standard (even in places that have not yet mandated it).

Learn About GADSS

CAT Editors: What challenges will the industry need to address in the coming year?

Baker: The ADS-B mandate by the end of next year is the most pressing issue for the industry.  Repair stations are at capacity and some aircraft owners/operators of older aircraft are reckoning with the economics and whether or not their aircraft has a future in the U.S. after December 31st, 2019.  

CAT Editors: What is your predictions for 2019?

Baker: 2019 will be the year for leveraging ADS-B with space-based ADS-B and airport surface tracking coverage.