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FlightAware Logo
Type Private company
Founded 2005, Houston, Texas[1]
Headquarters Houston, Texas
Area served United States and Canada (2005-2008)
Worldwide (2008–present)
Key people Daniel Baker, CEO[2]
Karl Lehenbauer, CTO[2]
David McNett, CIO[2]
Industry Aviation
Revenue Increase US$4 million (2009 est.)[3]
Website flightaware.com
Users Over 6,000,000[4]
Available in Multilingual (18)
Launched September 8, 2005 (2005-09-08)
Current status Active
8 Greenway Plaza houses the headquarters of FlightAware

FlightAware is a global aviation software and data services company. Based in Houston, it is known for its web site, the first to offer limited, free flight tracking of both private and commercial aircraft in the United States, Canada, Australia,[5] and New Zealand.[6] It is currently the largest flight tracking website in the world in terms of users.[7]

FlightAware primarily provides services and data to aircraft and airport operators as well as other aviation organizations to assist in their operations.[7] FlightAware provides enterprise services and tools to aircraft operators worldwide as well as flight tracking systems to airports in over 50 countries across North America, Europe, and Oceania.[8]

FlightAware also provides free, live, worldwide airline flight tracking to air travelers via the FlightAware.com web site and mobile apps, but its "free" GA tracking system data is limited.

In addition to flight tracking, FlightAware also provides online pilot flight planning, airport information and airport fuel prices, as well as aviation news and photos on the web site and via an email newsletter that has a monthly circulation over three million.[4] FlightAware can provide real-time contract card fuel prices for Universal Weather and Aviation for aircraft operators that have a UVair fuel card.[9]

The company has its headquarters at Eight Greenway Plaza in Houston, and an advertising office at 500 Fifth Avenue in New York City.[10]


In late 2004, CEO, Daniel Baker, started exploring the idea of creating a free flight tracking service as he wanted a way for his family to track his private flights around the country. At the time, there were few enterprise solutions that offered this kind of service. Baker recruited friends Karl Lehenbauer and David McNett to help create a free public flight tracking service. On March 17, 2005, FlightAware was officially founded and began processing live flight data.[11] FlightAware earned over one million dollars in revenue in its first 18 months.[12] FlightAware has been profitable since 2006 and is growing at the rate of 40-50% per year, as of April 2014.[13]

Previous to the current location at 8 Greenway Plaza, FlightAware headquarters was in Suite 1150 at 8 Greenway Plaza,[14] and originally the FlightAware headquarters were in the Midtown area of Houston.[15] FlightAware's CEO has cited Houston's inexpensive office space, geographical proximity to the rest of the country, and lack of a city or state income tax as an advantage.[16][17]

FlightAware has data centers in Houston, Dallas, and London. The company has over 50 employees and regularly lists new positions.[18]

Web site[edit]

Example of a chart available for download

The company's web site provides flight tracking information and notifications of private and commercial flights as well as airport activity, flight and airport maps with weather, aviation statistics, flight planning and instrument flight rules procedures for airports in the United States and Australia.[7][19][20] In addition, the site includes pilot services such as flight planning, aviation news, photos, and an aviation discussion forum.[11][21]

Users can register with the site for free, which adds features and functionality as well as the ability to participate in community features. Registration allows users to upload photos, submit aviation-related news (squawks), participate in discussion forums, and setup aircraft alerts in addition to numerous other features. FlightAware reports over 2,500,000 registered users.[4]

FlightAware serves over 300 million flight tracking pages to over five million users a month as of November 2014.[4]

Commercial products and services[edit]

FlightAware provides various paid commercial services designed to support aviation-related businesses, consumers, and FBOs. These services provide a significant portion of FlightAware's revenue.

FlightAware Global[edit]

"FlightAware Global" makes worldwide flight tracking available for aircraft operators via satellite or VHF data-link (VDL) through the FlightAware website. This service requires data service with a participating data-link provider and combines this data with existing FlightAware ANSP data feeds in 50+ countries and FlightAware's ADS-B data in 100+ countries.[22]

FlightAware integrates with all major aircraft datalink services using ACARS or similar protocols via SATCOM or VDL including:[23]

For aircraft with cockpit datalink services, FlightAware can provide real-time worldwide flight tracking and status as well as text messaging and other operational dispatch services in some cases.

Selective Unblocking[edit]

A selective unblocking service is available for aircraft owners and operators to selectively choose friends, family, employees, and business associates that are allowed to track an aircraft's movements. However, when a selective unblocking is used, the aircraft movements remained blocked to the general public. An owner or operator can opt to do this for privacy or security reasons.[24]

FlightAware TV[edit]

FlightAware TV is a web-based aircraft situational display scaled for an HDTV. FlightAware TV can be customized to show a "fleet view" to monitor an entire fleet or in "airport" view to monitor airport activity such as departures and arrivals.[25]

FBO ToolBox[edit]

FBO ToolBox is a Web-based, market-analysis and flight-tracking application that allows FBO managers insight into their customers. Primary features include competitive fuel price analysis, airport traffic analysis, AMSTAT operator information, airport history reports, and top origins/destinations. A proprietary fuel-burn calculator estimates the number of gallons necessary to complete a filed flight plan, and can deliver FBO managers a picture of potential fuel sales on any given day.[26] In May 2012, FlightAware launched "FBO ToolBox Europe" for airport operators in Europe.[8]

Custom Reports[edit]

Custom reports can be generated with a variety of parameters to aid aircraft owners, operators, airports, and business owners in planning decisions. For example, a historical report can be compiled to analyze air traffic frequency at a particular airport.[27]

Premium Accounts[edit]

Premium user accounts allow members access to unlimited flight alerts, increased visibility of historical flight data, European weather, tail number data, full screen HDTV maps, fleet tracking, and the ability to view more flights per page. There are three levels of premium accounts that are available for a monthly fee.[28]


Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) is a technology for tracking aircraft. FlightAware operates a network of ADS-B receivers for tracking ADS-B equipped aircraft.[29] FlightAware offers that professional operators of existing ADS-B sites can connect their receivers to FlightAware and, in exchange, receive additional account features/privileges. As of November 2014, FlightAware's network consists of over 1,000 sites, predominately in Europe, North America, and Australia.[30]

FlightAware produces FlightFeeder, a small ADS-B receiver that receives and processes ADS-B data, then sends it to FlightAware over the Internet and also makes the data available locally. FlightAware provides this unit free of charge to individuals in areas where FlightAware's ADS-B network does not have sufficient coverage.[31] The company deploys 75-100 new FlightFeeders per month. [32]

As of April 4, 2015, FlightAware has 2,403 ADS-B sites in 100 countries.[33]



FlightAware has a flight tracking API called FlightXML for third parties to incorporate FlightAware data into their own applications. Functionality includes flight status, airline data, maps, and push call-backs. FlightXML's API can be accessed via Representational state transfer or Simple Object Access Protocol and the API can be accessed from any programming language that supports XML. FlightXML is charged on a per query basis and the more queries that a user account makes per month, the less the per-query fee is.[34][35]

Features such as push notifications allow an app to be noticed about flight plans, schedule changes, departures, arrivals, cancellations, diversions, and more. FlightXML users can also receive worldwide airline information such as gate assignments, gate times, seat information, aircraft tail number, codeshare details, and meal service information.[36]


FlightAware has a live data feed called Firehose for third parties to incorporate live FlightAware positions around the world into their applications. Data is available as live snapshots or a streaming data feed. [37]


ARINC partnered with FlightAware and uses the FlightAware web application for ARINC Direct business aircraft operators.[38]

SITA and Rockwell Collins partnered with FlightAware to use FlightAware's worldwide data in their products for airlines. [39]

FlightAware offers a variety of live and historical data feeds for sale, ranging from live flight data to live fuel prices.[27]


  1. ^ "History". FlightAware. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Executive Profiles". FlightAware. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  3. ^ Talerico, Teresa (January 10, 2010). "Gaining altitude: FlightAware". Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "About FlightAware – Advertising" (Press release). Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ "FlightAware.com Launches Free Flight Tracking Services for Australia". FlightAware. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ "FlightAware Launches Comprehensive Flight Tracking Services in New Zealand". FlightAware. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "About FlightAware". FlightAware. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "FlightAware.com Launches Next-Generation General Aviation Flight Tracking in Europe". Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ "UVair Jet Fuel Pricing Now Integrated in FlightAware". Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Contact." FlightAware. Retrieved on May 13, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "FlightAware History". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  12. ^ "Bootstrapped, Profitable, & Proud: FlightAware". 37 Signals: Signal Vs Noise. 
  13. ^ "Clues About the Lost Malaysia Flight Found on Rooftop Antennas". Bloomberg. 
  14. ^ "FlightAware > About FlightAware > Contact Information". FlightAware. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  15. ^ "FlightAware > About FlightAware > Contact Information". FlightAware. Archived from the original on December 5, 2006. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO, Houston's Soaring Innovator (Video Interview)". CNBC. Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Brian Sullivan Takes Road Trip to Houston". CNBC. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  18. ^ "About FlightAware > Careers". Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  19. ^ Hunter, Marnie (April 8, 2008). "Flying tips for cranky passengers". CNN. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  20. ^ "AMD64 Technology Helps FlightAware's Airline Tracking Service 'Take-Off' To New Performance Heights". AMD. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  21. ^ "FlightAware > Pilot Resources". Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  22. ^ "FlightAware Global". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  23. ^ "FlightAware.com Announces Worldwide Coverage for Business Aviation Flight Tracking". Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  24. ^ "Selective Unblocking". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  25. ^ "FlightAware TV". Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  26. ^ "FBO ToolBox". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  27. ^ a b "Commercial Services". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  28. ^ "Premium Accounts". Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  29. ^ "ADS-B Flight Tracking". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  30. ^ "FlightAware ADS-B Flight Tracking Coverage". Retrieved 2014-11-05. 
  31. ^ "FlightFeeder - Network ADS-B Receiver". Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  32. ^ "HOW FLIGHT TRACKING APPS WORK: VOLUNTEERS". Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  33. ^ "FlightAware ADS-B Flight Tracking ✈ Feeder Statistics". Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  34. ^ "FlightAware's latest API improvements – Australia, Airline Details, Push Alerts, JSON". Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  35. ^ "FlightXML: Flight Tracking API". Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  36. ^ "FlightAware's latest API improvements - Australia, Airline Details, Push Alerts, JSON". Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  37. ^ "Live ADS-B Flight Data Feed (Worldwide)". Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  38. ^ "ARINC Direct Partners With FlightAware To Offer Live Flight Tracking For Business Aviation Operations". Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  39. ^ "Rockwell Collins, SITA Roll Out New Tracking Options For Airlines". Retrieved 2015-04-14. 

External links[edit]