June 21, 2022
Passengers aboard easyJet will accelerate their destinations faster and more environmentally friendly, thanks to an ESA-backed digitalisation initiative.
The Iris system uses satellites to digitally connect pilots with air traffic controllers so that flight routes can be optimized. Pilots will be able to fly the most efficient routes, saving time and fuel while reducing emissions of global warming carbon dioxide.
easyJet will install the Iris system on up to 11 newly delivered Airbus A320neo aircraft, flying in the commercial network from November 2022.
ESA has developed the Iris system in partnership with the UK-based satellite communications company Inmarsat to help alleviate congestion in the sky. Air transport is increasing rapidly and is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels over the next few years and continue to grow thereafter.
At present, pilots communicate mainly with air traffic controllers by voice or by using outdated data transmission technology. This makes flight operations inefficient, as aircraft have to stay away from each other and follow predefined air corridors instead of taking the most direct route.
Data exchange will soon become the main means of communication with large amounts of data transmitted to and from aircraft. Iris provides highly secure high bandwidth connections between pilots and air traffic controllers.
Philip Carrett, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Having easyJet on board as our first Iris partner is great news, not least because of its pioneering commitment to innovation and reducing the environmental impact of the aviation industry. With Iris, we are launching a new era that will help make aviation greener, and the more airlines move forward to assess Iris’s capabilities, the sooner it will become a reality. “
Hugh McConelog, director of airport operations and navigation at easyJet, said: “Iris is paving the way for more efficient air traffic management, which is a crucial step forward for the aviation industry. The Iris program has many benefits, from helping us achieve our environmental goals by further reducing our carbon emissions from flying, to providing a better experience for our passengers. We are excited to be a leader in this field, setting the standard for the aviation industry, and we hope to see more airlines follow suit.
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “This innovation is a huge undertaking by ESA, Inmarsat and more than 30 other companies in the aerospace industry, so that it can finally be lifted into the sky in an operational environment. live is very exciting. European airspace is crying out to solve its capacity problems, and modern satellite technology is the only way to set up the industry for a better and greener future.
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