Star Navigation bridges the gap between flight experience and flight safety in real time. When it comes to the aerospace industry, the Ontario-based leading-edge technology company offers both hardware and software solutions.
The company’s real-time capacity for tracking performance trends and predicting incident occurrence enhances aviation safety and improves fleet management while also reducing costs for the operator.
Joining us today as we take off into the always-exciting world of aviation is Executive Vice President of Star Navigation and Flight Path International Capt. Jonathan Kordich, and Senior Director Investor Relations Harmeet Gill.
TMH: To start off, give us a brief overview of what Star Navigation does in the world of aviation and aerospace safety.
JK: Three major components in commercial airline operations are safety, efficiency and tracking. Any manufacturer of any kind of equipment is associated with these three critical areas. The most significant aspect has always been and will be safety, and you will claim that anything that you add to the airplane will enhance safety. This is where the cutting-edge technological superiority comes in from Star Navigation, where we are not about the enhancement of safety. We are giving you the safety, preventative measures, and predictive capabilities of anything that can happen on the aircraft system well in advance before we actually get any kind of indication in the cockpit or maintenance procedures. We will see them hence giving genuine, safe operations to operators. This is the future, and it’s here today with us.
Secondly, efficiency, obviously, this is where the money is for any operator, the capability of the system reduces the operating costs tremendously, hence providing opportunities for increased profits, and that’s where the bottom line is. As for tracking, unlike what we’ve had up to now is that the capability of this tracking system is that now any event will lose an airplane. We are not searching for the aircraft anymore. We know where it is.
TMH: You also recently completed your Transport Canada renewal audit, the importance of which your CEO said could not be overstated…tell us why.
HG: That’s what Canada’s standard approval is the CAR 561. Just for the average person to know what CAR means is actual civil aviation regulations. So this is really important because this is applicable to manufacturing aeronautical products with respect to design approval. So we can actually do this in-house. So that’s really, really key to what we do, especially as the business grows like Captain was saying, the kind of things that we are capable of doing, we are the future and now ready for what we have to do. It also gives you the repair design approval (RDA), and it also gives you more changes. So that’s modifications approved by supplement type certificate, which is called the STC. Simon, if you were ever in Toronto, please pass by, we’ll show you a hall of fame and how many STCs we have on different types of aircraft.
So they could range from the Airbus 320s, 310s, Lear jets, and so many other STC we already have, and some are actually in the making as well, and we own this. What this enables us to do is when the manufacturer has given over the aircraft to the client, usually the client has to go back to the manufacturer to get any software issues or anything’s happened to the aircraft to get the reports. In this case, because we are STC compiled and we produce Transfer Canada, which comes under ICAO, which is the International Civil Aviation Organization. Now the software belongs to the client itself. He can see the monitoring of the aircraft going on from power on, complete flight face to power off. He knows exactly what’s going on with your left engine, right engine hydraulics, you name it. We tap into databases.
Most aircraft, I have about eight, or nine databases. So all the data that’s stored in there, we are a big data company. We extract that data so we can give you any information you want, and we can customize it the way you want it, what type and everything. We also have a built-in system that if it gets to a critical area, if you hear what Captain said, we want to let you know way before something’s going to happen to your engine or your aircraft, but if you get to the point where it’s critical like the Malaysian 370 has been missing since 2014, that’s eight years triple seven more than 240 passengers. That’s ridiculous, right? So it shows you the kind of weak systems out there that need to be modified. So if it gets that critical, we have a system built in that will download all the data from the black box immediately.
You don’t have to do any recovery. The Air France 447 that crashed on the coast of Brazil, cost almost $120 million plus just to recover the black box. After two and a half years of investigation and loved ones want to see what happened, and they want to know now, not in two and a half years later. That’s what the capabilities of the STAR system can do. It is a very unique modified system that is catching wildfire because, in January 2023, the law is coming out from ICAO that every aircraft more than 6,000 pounds has to have a monitoring system in real-time. 15 minutes on a regular interval of a flight but every one minute if there’s a critical distress signal that’s been created, right? So this is why this Transport Canada approval is very, very important to Star, and we just received it again, we got modified. So that shows our capabilities at the high level of what we can do.
TMH: Tell us about your involvement in this LAPSSET corridor project in Kenya, what does it mean for Star Navigation?
JK: In short, Simon. We have variations and derivatives of our inflight safety monitoring system, which we are addressing up to this point in time. With similar capabilities with respect to land and marine operations and we are under a tremendous marketing campaign. This is a new technology of this scope of capability that, as the exposure we’ve been able to receive in the airline environment it’s been inevitable, and I believe it will continue to be like this that other environments are recognizing the capabilities and the benefits of preventative measures and optimizing operations and being to locate distressed vehicles that being land and marine. So here is a perfect example of what happened in Kenya when the airlines looked at our system and recognized that we have derivatives with the capability to provide the same type of service for land and marine vehicles.
It has really exploded in terms of interest, and this is all in a very short and near past that all this has occurred within the last few months, and it’s certainly an indication of the direction that our company is heading in the services that we’re able to provide, not only to the airlines because 300 lives are not necessarily more worth than one. We know the significance of that. So losing a truck or losing a boat when there are people’s lives involved, the preventative measures are just as significant, and we have the capability to do that we have engaged with the government of Kenya for a tremendous economic development that in collaboration with the government of South Sudan and Ethiopia for a tremendous expansion in that region in terms of economics and infrastructure.
HG: Simon, I just wanted to add to what Captain just said. This corridor, the LAPSSET corridor development authority, is literally to track trucks, trains, and boats in East Africa’s largest infrastructure project, bringing together Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. These are three countries we’re bringing together, not three cities. There are going to be cities built there. This overall is a $30 billion project. So if STAR gets a piece of the pie, we are more than happy to do that. It’s heading that way. If you look at the LOI, the Director General and the CEO of the LCTA, an abbreviation to LAPSSET, actually mentioned there it goes at your earliest convenience, he is talking to STAR. We’ll look forward to furthering our discussion to enter into the purchase agreement with LCTA for the purchase of STAR tracking systems, which will also layer foundational strong, positive relations for future engagement.
Our CEO went on to mention here which was really something unique. He said the game-changing infrastructure that will deliver social and economic development and prosperity to hundreds of millions of people for generations to come. Star Navigation plays a vital role in the safety, efficiency and tracking of all modes of transportation. So you are looking at air, sea and ground, that’s all we are doing in Africa. There’s more than enough business there for generations. Even the shareholders are going to be delighted with what’s coming out of there, and as you can see, me and Captain we’re excited our whole staff is excited about this as well, and we are working with the government of Kenya to expand our role there and help them have the right technology to be able to transport all these millions of people.
TMH: Do you see or is it possible for that type of system to play a significant role in countries in the region or internationally?
JK: We are on our way back into East Africa this weekend, and we are holding numerous accident prevention and airline optimization human factors versus technology conferences that are hosted by us and there we are onto West Africa, in Ghana and Nigeria and Senegal and the recognition is being enlarged tremendously with our efforts here and our friends and our partners in the various services that we have and these applications are just at the same level as what we have been able to achieve at this point in time, and we feel very confident that we have a technology that is incomparable of what has been achieved to this point in time and that it actually evolves from Canada.
TMH: The LAPSSET project is being called the biggest infrastructure project ever in East Africa. What impact will your involvement with it have on the company’s future?
HG: Actually, the magnitude of this LAPSSET project, as I said, it’s $30 billion, and it’s going to grow because it’s a project started in April 2013, and it’s going on to 2030, and that’s just an estimate. It could go a lot further than that. With Star Navigation’s capabilities on different systems. An example, let’s say we have fishing boats, and they have thousands of them over there. We’ll be actually able to tell them GEO fencing, so your boat doesn’t go in the wrong territory. It’ll trigger an alarm that’s telling you to stay in within your boundaries, and then they’ll even tell you that bad weather’s coming ahead. So your weather overlays. That is very important for somebody’s fishing or drowning out there. The other key thing is where they fish because we’re seller oriented, we can actually tell you from satellite communication through our system where is the best fish for you to go, so you’re not wasting your time out there on the sea. So that is very critical, and there’s obviously a lot of bells and whistles added onto that too.
Same if you look at the ports that they’re building over there, it’s going to have 32 shipping ports. Obviously, they’ll be for cruise ships because a lot of people like to go that way. You have yachts there, you’ll get police boats, marine boats, you name it that way too, and then all this importing exporting that’s coming over from China or Malaysia or Singapore from the Middle East and to and from all of this is going to be massive. Now to import and export that kind of equipment from that many ships, how many trucks do you think you’re going to need? Right? Imagine us monitoring all these trucks, right? So its hardware is one thing, but the ongoing call and residual income coming from monitoring the system, it will be for years and years to come. So yeah, the impact on Star Navigation is going to be massive.
JK: One last thing, if I might add to that, with respect to seagoing vessels when it gets into distress, again, we’re not searching for it anymore. We know where its exact location is, and there’s no more search patterns that will be executed, it is going directly to a distressed vessel. Now that’s a tremendous achievement with respect to rescuing efforts and reducing the time and getting to people and getting people that are still alive into safety.
TMH: Is there anything else you maybe haven’t touched on yet that is important for our viewers and of course, your investors to know?
HG: Something that Captain Jonathan did mention, and I would like to elaborate a little bit more on that. As you said, we are on our way there. We’re actually travelling the day after tomorrow. We’ll be going to Kenya, we’ll be going to Nigeria and Ghana, and we are hosting our own aviation safety conferences, which are huge. We have a lot of media attention that is going to be there. If they haven’t heard of us over there right now, they will after this trip it’s about a four to five-week trip, and we might even head over to the Middle East and maybe parts of Asia as well as we arrange this and more importantly, it’s not just the airlines that are going to be present there, the operators, but we are also going to have government officials, like for instance, Kenya will have the Kenya Civil Aviation Authorities, and we’ve already met them. They are already gung-ho about this system. They already think that this system needs to be on every aircraft.
Unfortunately, when we were there in March, there was a plane that went missing. They were not even sure if this plane was on land that it crashed or did it crash in water, right? So these things are unacceptable in this day and age, and we want to show that we have a technology that can overcome a lot of obstacles, and it’s going to actually help save lives. This is all about safety, right? Help the airlines grow flight path as captain is also executive VP for them as well. They actually have training centers to train pilots, avionic guys and, more importantly, the operations. So they are in nine training centers around the world, and they’re already dealing with 160 airlines, and they’ve been in Africa for 22 years. So our partnership with them was instant because we are going straight to the key decision makers, not the people in between there, right? That’s one. Two, with their expertise and our expertise on our system together, it’s really opening up the eyes of the industry saying that, you know what? We can’t live without this. We need to know what’s happening with our left engine and the right engine immediately. No one is too late. That’s why preventive maintenance is very, very important and key. Last word, Captain,
JK: That’s the key there, Harmeet. This is a need. This is not a luxury, it’s just a matter of time. No different than the mobile phones when they first came out of how we looked at them. And here it is today, we just cannot do without them. That’s the direction that we’re heading with such systems.
Thanks again for joining us at The Market Herald today, Jonathan and Harmeet, we look forward to keeping an eye on things and chatting with you again soon.
We’ve been speaking with Star Navigation Senior Investor Relations Director Harmeet Gill and Executive Vice President Capt. Jonathan Kordich. The company trades on the CSE under the ticker symbol SNA. You can also visit https://www.star-navigation.com for more information.
Once again, I’d like to thank Harmeet and Jonathan for joining us today to learn more about their company’s latest developments and share their insights with our Top Line audience and their investors.
I’m Simon Druker for The Market Herald. Thanks for watching Top Line, and we’ll see you next time.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by The Market Herald.