When representatives from every world nation and every civil aviation organization gather at the triennial ICAO Assembly, topics on the agenda include current progress and issues as well as future challenges and potential solutions.
Beidou navigation system
It had always been ICAO’s intent that civil user services provided by the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) should be free of charges or user mandates, except for certain optional applications such as fee-bearing accuracy enhancements with performance guarantees. Europe’s Galileo is expected to offer such optional enhancements. But Russia has announced that it will mandate the carriage of receivers for its Glonass constellation in all aircraft on its civil aircraft register. GPS may also be used, but only when integrated with a Glonass receiver and its adjuncts.
In a statement that surprised Western observers, China announced late last year that it will launch its own 35-satellite, GPS-like global navigation system over the next several years. Thirty of these satellites will fly in medium-earth orbits at around 12,000 miles altitude, similar to that of GPS, while the remaining five will be equally spaced around the equator in WAAS-like geostationary orbits and perform a similar service.