Viasat has signed a long-term contract to appoint European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) as service provider for the Iris air traffic modernisation programme.

ESSP will operate, provision, and lead the Iris service commercialisation to European air navigation service providers (ANSPs), including managing completion as the first Pan-European company certified for satellite-based communication service by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Charlotte Neyret, CEO of ESSP, said, “ESSP strongly believes in Iris as a pioneering Europe-wide satellite communications data link programme and we are committed to developing, operating, and commercialising it for Europe at this early stage. ESSP is proud to contribute as a service provider to the expansion of Iris technology, which will bring a wide range of benefits to the aerospace industry, as Iris will allow the development of new environmentally friendly routes, which will improve ATC management, reduce fuel costs, and finally lead to the deployment of more efficient air operations, to name just a few of the programme’s strengths.”

Iris enables fuel efficiency

Led by the European Space Agency (ESA), Iris enables aircraft to fly more fuel-efficient routes by providing digital satellite communications to complement VHF data link, which is nearing a capacity crunch in congested airspace. By digitally connecting the air traffic management (ATM) ecosystem, it enhances collaboration between pilots and air traffic controllers to maximise airspace use and reduce the impact of disruptions for passengers, while also reducing emissions through the use of 4D Trajectory-Based Operations.

Sharing these trajectories through uncongested, high-bandwidth ELERA satellite communications allows flights to cruise at optimum altitudes and use continuous climb and descent paths, saving fuel and reducing aviation’s environmental impact. Without fast and reliable data links between aircraft and the ground, air traffic managers cannot unlock the 8-10% reduction in CO2 emissions identified by EUROCONTROL from improved ATM.

Iris will enter commercial and operational service fully in Europe next year with airlines including easyJet and ITA Airways, supporting the Single European Sky’s ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan.

Photo caption (L-R): Joel Klooster, SVP Aircraft Operations and Safety, Viasat; Antonio Garutti, Head of Telecommunications System Projects Office, ESA; Charlotte Neyret, CEO, ESSP SAS

Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter