Nov 23, 2018
21 November 2018: Inmarsat has signed agreements with five major Air
Navigation Services Providers (ANSPs) in support of the Iris programme
to modernise air traffic management (ATM) across Europe.
DFS (Germany), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC
(North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS
(UK), who together handle the majority of European air traffic, will
join an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) pilot, marking a
significant milestone for the early implementation phase of Iris.
Separately, we have also signed a contract with European Satellite
Services Provider (ESSP), a company owned by European ANSPs and focused
on safety of life services, in accordance with International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.
ESSP will work with us to help define the service and certification
framework of the future Iris Service Provider, a company that will be
appointed under the programme to provide the European datalink
communication services for Iris.
The Iris programme is a partnership with the European Space Agency
(ESA) and led by Inmarsat to enable secure, high bandwidth datalink
communications over Europe. The objective is to deploy more digital
controller-pilot communications to improve the speed and accuracy of air
traffic management across Europe’s congested airspace.
ANSPs will be able to rely on Iris’ certified, efficient and
sustainable datalink to increase ATM efficiency, relieve air traffic
controller workload and enhance flight safety.
Iris is also designed to enable initial ‘4D’ trajectories,
pinpointing an aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude,
altitude and time, which is one of the major concepts defined in the
Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) modernisation programme.
This will enable precise tracking of flights and more efficient
management of traffic by allowing pilots and controllers to collaborate
on flight trajectories and calculate the shortest available routes,
cruise at optimum altitudes, and use continuous climb and descent path
to reduce delays, save fuel and improve the environment.
John Broughton, Vice President, Safety and Operational Services at
Inmarsat Aviation, said: “As we enter the early implementation phase of
Iris, the range of ANSPs that have committed to further its development
is testament to the programme’s significance to the European and global
“Iris is a truly collaborative partnership, and we are delighted to
bring on board these industry-leading ANSPs to help deliver our shared
goal of modernising air traffic management in Europe.”
Magali Vaissiere, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated
Applications, ESA, said: “The satellite-based Iris system is a key
element for a successful implementation in Europe of the Air Traffic
Management Data Link Services (DLS) with the outlook to become a global
“We are extremely pleased that key European Air Navigation Service
Providers have taken the challenge to exploit and strengthen the
opportunity that Iris is offering for the benefit of European citizens
now and in the coming years of digitalisation.”