Avanti awarded $20m arbitration verdict

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London-based satellite operator Avanti Communications has been awarded $20 million by a London Arbitration Court.

Avanti brought its claim in August 2017 against the Ministry of Defence in Indonesia over rental terms for capacity on Avanti’s Artemis satellite. Indonesia had paid a portion of the $30 million sum due, but then delayed paying the balance. That balance of $16.8 million was the core subject of Avanti’s claim.

On June 6th, the arbitral tribunal rendered a final award, ordering the Government of Indonesia to pay to Avanti the total sum of USD 20.075 million, including interest and costs. The award is payable by July 31st.

The Artemis satellite had been shifted to operate at 123 degrees East. The orbital position was crucial to the dispute, and had previously been occupied by the country’s Garuda-1 satellite and which was used by its armed forces for voice, data and video traffic. Garuda-1 suffered a number of problems following its launch in February 2000 and was retired in mid-2015 and moved to a graveyard orbit.

With Garuda-1’s failure Avanti’s Artemis satellite was used as a temporary ‘gap filler’ craft in order to retain access to the orbital position. Artemis was bought by Avanti from the European Space Agency in 2013 “for a nominal sum” and initially operated from 21.5 degrees East.

The court verdict is a welcome – and positive – slice of news for Avanti in what has been a worrying period for the business. Co-founder and technical director Dave Bestwick is leaving the company this month, and Avanti is still looking for some $70 million of extra financing and funding.


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