Control tower in a airport

Iris: Next generation air traffic communication service

A ground-breaking satellite-based data link technology enabling airspace optimization to ease congestion and reduce delays and emissions for airlines

Iris delivers high-bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based data link communications for global ATM modernization

Our ground-breaking Iris Air Traffic Management (ATM) program with the European Space Agency (ESA) is a key component of modernizing and digitalizing 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 powerful benefits for airlines and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), such as minimising flight delays, saving fuel and reducing the environmental impact of air travel.

With the announcement of Iris Global, the programme is expanding beyond Europe and marks the beginning of a global evolution of digital ATM through our L-band satellite constellation, available worldwide and compliant with global Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) standards ATN/OSI and ATN/IPS.

Cockpit commercial airplane
Cockpit commercial airplane

What are 4D trajectory-based operations?

4D TBO is the sharing of trajectory and intent-based information in four dimensions (latitude, longitude, altitude, and time). By sharing this forward looking trajectory information, known as the Extended Projected Profile (EPP), controllers can efficiently manage airspace, enabling airlines to avoid holding patterns, navigate using the shortest available routes and optimum altitudes, and benefit from continuous climb and descent profiles.


Continuous climb and descent

Continuous climbs and descents save an average 500 kg of fuel per flight. Just 10% more CCDs per day will save 120 tons of fuel, enough to fly round trip from London to New York.


More direct routing

It is estimated that up to 8% fuel saving could be achieved across Europe by making direct routes flight plannable.


Optimum flight levels and speeds

Flying just 2,000 ft below the fuel optimum level could increase fuel burn by up to 7%.  ECON descent speed for a Boeing 737-800 is around 255 kts. Flying at 300 kts incurs a fuel burn penalty of up to 100 kg.

Photo of Joel Klooster

“We are thrilled to see Iris flying with a leading airline such as easyJet, a crucial step on our pathway to reducing emissions and easing congestion in European skies.”

Joel Klooster, SVP Airline Operations and Safety, Viasat

Commercial airplane flying above moutains
Commercial airplane flying above moutains

Unprecedented environmental benefits


One of Iris’ greatest benefits is its expected 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, reducing aviation’s impact on the environment.

Iris is a quick win for de-carbonization and the journey to net zero aviation. According to ESA, average CO2 savings per year in Europe alone are estimated to be 6.5M tonnes by 2040, with a cumulative savings total of 27-55M tonnes. That’s annual savings of CO2 comparable to the annual emissions of major European cities like Seville and Florence.


The congested skies over Europe are the first to benefit from Iris, with easyJet already flying using the new data link. Iris provides 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.

Next generation air traffic communications, available today

The EASA-certified Iris service provider ESSP has 19 leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) supporting commercial flights across Europe already – with up to 11 easyJet Airbus A320neo aircraft taking part, ITA Airways flying soon, and more airlines confirmed to join.


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EASA Certified

The Iris service provider ESSP is EASA-certified and has 19 leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) supporting the service in Europe.

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Live and flying

easyJet is operating commercial flights using 11 Airbus A320neo equipped with Iris. ITA Airways is about to begin flights, and more airlines are set to join in 2024.

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Linefit availability

Offered as a fully developed and certified capability by Airbus on the A320 and A330 series aircraft, with more retrofit and linefit platforms being added all the time.

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Globally available

Iris global, which was launched in 2022, aims to extend the benefit of Iris beyond Europe. This will be achieved through geographical expansion, including Asia, the USA, the Middle East and Australia. 

Join the Iris generation

European ANSPs should contact European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) who is the appointed service provider for Iris in Europe. Global ANSPs, and interested airlines can use the contact form provided to get in touch with us about the benefits of Iris for their operation.
Cockpit commercial airplane