(CEO) Dan (Gerrity) brought with him professional business people. We had a first round of investment, mostly friends and family, angel investors. We were in a great position because we had a proven technology. You could look at the experience at Alaska Airlines, and we had a contract in our hand. From an investment standpoint for a high-risk startup, it was pretty low-risk.
You've attracted considerable business from airlines in parts of the world as distant as New Zealand and Tibet, but last week's deal with Southwest Airlines has to represent a big landmark on the road to success.
It's huge for us. It's huge for the FAA, and it's huge for the industry as a whole.
An airline like Southwest, with its market dominance and its reputation, really validates the FAA's plan. It is the signal, and it is the indication that we are well into the navigation revolution and that we're on our way to transforming the airspace in this country.
What's your prediction for the future for the company?
Our mission is every onboard navigation system, every airplane, every runway in the world. There's 10,000 strips of concrete, 20,000 runway ends, 100,000 procedures.
Will RNP be adopted in less-developed areas of the world?
This is the cell phone model. You can create a modern system without creating a huge infrastructure. We are able to jump ahead 60 years and avoid all of that slow development. This is a great solution where there are great terrain challenges or financial issues.
And in the United States and Europe where the infrastructure is already in place?
The issue is different here. The issue is capacity. You have to allocate a pretty huge block of airspace for each plane because the lack of precision of radar and other issues. By reducing that position uncertainty and lateral separation en route, you begin to solve some of your airspace problems.
Founders: Dan Gerrity, former Coinstar CEO, and Steve Fulton and Hal Andersen, former Alaska Airlines pilots who helped pioneer RNP in southeast Alaska
First customer: WestJet
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John Gillie: 253-597-8663