Navtech was a startup before the word hit the mainstream; in the 1980s, an Air Canada pilot had an idea to use a computer system to calculate the benefits of tankering fuel. With the help of his wife, a self-taught software engineer, his idea eventually developed into a computerized flight planning system that today, serves more than 400 aircraft operators.
Over the holidays, Navtech announced that it was acquired by France-based Airbus for an undisclosed amount. As Navtech’s products include all-encompassing solutions like flight planning, aircraft performance, crew planning, and aeronautical charts, the acquisition will allow civil aircraft manufacturer Airbus to move into the software space.
“Airbus is an incredible brand in the marketplace,” Navtech CEO Mike Hulley told Communitech News. “In their brief history since the early ’70’s they’ve captured about 51 percent of the market space for aircraft. That’s phenomenal. We’re a young, hungry company as well; lashing the two of us together gives both companies an opportunity to expand into new territory.”
The acquisition will allow Navtech to access to Airbus’ global customer base, and — as Hulley noted — allow Airbus direct access to Waterloo’s impressive engineering talent, which Airbus executives apparently took notice of during the acquisition process.
“It’s going to be big for the region to have a company like Airbus working here,” said Hulley. “When Airbus came to visit throughout the acquisition process, they’ve noticed the access to really strong engineering and technology folks in this area. Not only did this surprise them, they’re thrilled about it. I think this will be something that continues to grow in the region. It’s going to be really exciting to hang an Airbus sign on the building. I’m very much looking forward to that day.”