ADS-B Gulf of Mexico Surveillance

What it does

The Gulf of Mexico airspace has a tremendous amount of helicopter traffic to and from oil platforms, as well as commercial air traffic over the Gulf. ADS-B surveillance has significantly improved safety and efficiency for all operations in airspace where radar was never possible.


Since 2009 when the FAA installed ADS-B in the Gulf, monthly Instrument Flight Rules helicopter traffic has tripled, due to the improved routing efficiencies and safety benefits of ADS-B-based ATC surveillance and separation.


With ADS-B surveillance, high altitude aircraft flying over the Gulf can be separated by only 5 nautical miles instead of 100, and aircraft don't have to be re-routed over land during weather diversions.

These efficiencies save time and fuel, reducing delays and aircraft emissions.

How it works

ADS-B is a surveillance system based on satellite-based positioning that provides improved aircraft positions and velocities compared with radar. Small, easily maintained ADS-B ground stations can be installed in areas where radar is not possible, including on offshore oil platforms, along the U.S. coastline, and in Mexico making it possible to extend ADS-B surveillance across the Gulf of Mexico.

Last updated: Thursday, February 16, 2023