ITSO Holds AP-39 Extraordinary Meeting, Discusses Intelsat’s Bankruptcy Status

The International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO), an intergovernmental organisation responsible for managing Intelsat, a global communications satellite provider, held its 39th Assembly of Parties meeting on August 27 and 28, 2020. 

The AP-39 was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions. While several issues were addressed during the meeting, the focus was on Intelsat’s bankruptcy status. On 13 May 2020, Intelsat and certain of its subsidiaries filed petitions for voluntary bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The AP-39 which was initially scheduled for October 2020 was then moved to August, to address the urgent business. 

South Africa is the current Chair of the AP Meeting and with the Director-General/CEO coming from Uganda. While the full outcome of the AP-39 is yet to be made public, but Space in Africa can confirm heavy involvements of African representatives at the assembly

Intelsat came to existence in 1962 after U.S President, J.F. Kennedy signed the U.S Satellite communications law. From 1964 to 2001 it existed as an intergovernmental consortium owning and managing a constellation of communications satellites providing international broadcast services. Intelsat has been responsible for some of the world’s leading telecoms activities, transmitting the first live global TV broadcast in 1967, the Moon landing in 1969, live Aid concert in 1985, Sydney Olympic in 2000, to mention a few. With 149 countries ratifying a 1973 modification to the US law, Intelsat now owns 52 communications satellites with over 600 earth stations across the world. Intelsat has played an important role in Satellite communications across Africa and the world.