Iris delivers high-bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based data link communications over Europe.

Our ground-breaking Iris air traffic management programme with the European Space Agency (ESA) is a key component of modernising and digitalising the aviation industry.

Powered by SB-S, our award-winning broadband platform for the cockpit, Iris uses secure IP connectivity to relieve pressure on congested VHF radio links, which are near capacity. This supports the Single European Skies ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan for next-generation air traffic management and creates a number of power benefits for airlines and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) across Europe, such as minimising flight delays, saving fuel and reducing the environment impact of air travel.

Advanced capabilities

Iris can pinpoint an aircraft in four dimensions - latitude, longitude, altitude and time - using ‘4D trajectories’. This enables flights to be precisely tracked and traffic to be efficiently managed through Trajectory-Based Operations (TBO), allowing pilots and controllers to calculate the shortest available routes, cruise at optimum altitudes and use continuous climb and descent paths.

In addition, pilot-controller communications move from voice communications to text messages, improving the clarity of communication and increasing operational safety and efficiency.

Iris also protects aircraft communications from cyber threats with security gateways, which provide a VPN barrier between the ground and each aircraft, assuring mutual authentication and integrity of data exchange. They securely connect flight management systems onboard the aircraft to the corresponding systems used by air traffic controllers on the ground.

These advanced capabilities of Iris will mark a step change, helping to address the limitations of today’s legacy protocols and paving the way for more efficient, cost-effective air traffic management.

Unprecedented environmental benefits

One of Iris’ greatest benefit is its positive impact on the environment. SESAR Joint Undertaking estimates that 5-10% of CO2 emissions generated by flights are avoidable due to outdated aviation infrastructure, which generates unnecessarily long trajectories and congestion in the air. Iris technology reduces fuel burn and emissions, lessening aviation’s impact on the environment.

With Europe’s skies growing more congested all the time, it’s a vital component in advancing the European Green Deal, Europe’s effort to make its airspace the most environmentally friendly in the world. Making Europe climate-neutral and protecting our environment will benefit passengers, the planet and the economy.

We are proud to offer this unique technology to transform air traffic management (ATM) and deliver the benefits of the digital age. The congested skies over Europe will be the first to benefit from Iris, with a global rollout coming over the next decade. Iris will provide the vital bandwidth to reduce air traffic delays, emissions, and open up the skies. And most importantly, Iris will reduce aviation’s carbon footprint – creating a better world for all of us, for generations to come.

Iris Insights