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Swiss Airline easyJet Signs on for Inmarsat and ESA Iris Program 

By Rachel Jewett | June 21, 2022
Artist rendition of Iris satellite-based communication system. Photo: European Space Agency

Artist rendition of Iris satellite-based communication system. Photo:

Swiss airline easyJet will be the first airline partner for Inmarsat and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Iris program to modernize air traffic management. 

Iris, developed in a public-private partnership launched by ESA, is a service designed to offer high bandwidth and cost-effective satellite datalink communications between air traffic controllers and pilots.  It allows aircraft to send and receive live data with ground systems during the entire flight. The service operates on Inmarsat’s SB-S platform. 

easyJet will evaluate Iris’ capabilities on up to 11 Airbus A320neos, set to begin flying from November 2022. The aircraft have been linefitted with a Light Cockpit Satcom solution powered by terminal manufacturer Cobham, which is integrated fully with the flight operations & maintenance exchanger developed by Collins and Airbus.

“Iris is paving the way for more efficient air traffic management, which is a crucial step forward for the aviation industry. The program brings multiple benefits, from helping us to achieve our environmental goals by further reducing our carbon emissions, to providing a better experience for our passengers,” commented Hugh McConnellogue, easyJet’s director of Airport Operations and Navigation.

Iris will enter commercial and operational service fully in Europe next year, and Inmarsat and ESA recently signed a contract to globalize the program.