GE Aviation is looking for buyers for its Airxos business and apparently intends to start winding down the operation from February 1. A company spokeswoman confirmed to FutureFlight that the U.S. aircraft engines and systems group is "exploring the sale of Airxos." She indicated that staffing levels will be reduced next month, with others kept on the payroll, "for the continuation of uninterrupted software services while we explore a possible sale."
In a statement to sUAS News on January 9, Mark Lanphear, GE’s vice president for sales and business development, said the group has determined that it can no longer support the unmanned traffic management (UTM) specialist in the wake of financial pressures resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The U.S.-based aircraft engines and systems group launched Airxos in June 2018 to focus on air and ground traffic management for manned and unmanned vehicles. The main goal for the wholly-owned subsidiary has been to support efforts by private sector operators, government agencies, and “regional aviation authorities” to integrate unmanned aircraft system operations through the development of traffic-management technologies.
The company has been working to support autonomous flight capability such as beyond-visual-line-of-sight capability. Its technology portfolio also covers functions such as flight authorization, flight deconfliction, dynamic airspace management, remote ID, and conformance monitoring.
The Airxos Air Mobility platform has been deployed on the Amazon Web Services GovCloud to support compliance with U.S. requirements for drone operations. It helps operators to meet their obligations for low-altitude authorization and notification capability (LAANC), filing operational waivers, planning operations, real-time monitoring and management of operations, and post-flight reporting and compliance. Airxos’s command center backs the service.
Airxos has been involved in multiple U.S.-based UAS integration programs, including the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance and NASA’s technical capability level testing and the development of LAANC. The company, which GE Aviation and GE Business Innovations jointly formed, has been involved in three UAS integration pilot programs for the cities of San Diego and Memphis, and also for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
The burgeoning UTM market has sparked a wave of startups looking to establish themselves as systems and service providers, including Kitty Hawk, SkyGrid, and D3 Technologies. Established aerospace groups such as Thales, Airbus, and Boeing are also active in the sector.