The Iris programme, an initiative led by the European Space Agency (ESA) and global communications company Viasat using the latest generation of satellite technology to help modernise air traffic management (ATM), has entered commercial service with easyJet, the programme’s first airline partner.

ESSP, the EASA-certified Iris service provider, has involved 15 leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in support of the first commercial flights taking place across Europe this year, as well as up to 11 easyJet Airbus A320neo aircraft taking part.

“More efficient use of airspace is a critical way we can tackle the industry’s emissions right now,” said Hugh McConnellogue, Director of Operations & Navigation at easyJet. “Adopting Iris technology on these aircraft will enable easyJet to fly more directly and efficiently, thereby reducing carbon emissions as well as enhancing our on-time performance – which in turn improves our customers’ experiences. We’re thrilled to be paving the way in this area whilst working towards our goal to achieve our net-zero ambitions by 2050, as outlined in our roadmap.”

“These first Iris commercial flights put Europe firmly at the forefront of the digitalisation and modernisation of Air Traffic Management,” said Javier Benedicto, acting Director of Connectivity and Secure Communications, ESA. “Iris enables tangible benefits to the commercial aviation community and society at large, including reduced emissions of carbon dioxide and fewer delays for passengers through more efficient flight paths.”

Image courtesy of John Ballantyne.