ITA Airways will be the first full service carrier in Europe to join the European Space Agency (ESA) and Inmarsat’s Iris data link technology programme. The Iris programme enables aircraft to fly more fuel-efficient routes through providing digital satellite communications to complement VHF data link,
Through the use of Iris, ATM players will be able to better anticipate and collaborate to maximise the use of airspace while reducing the impact of emissions as well as the impact of disruptions for an airline’s passengers.
“ITA Airways was born to guarantee Italy quality connectivity with a strong focus on the environmental impact through an important investment made in a homogenous and technologically advanced fleet, which in 2026 will be made up of 80% of new generation aircraft becoming the greenest fleet in Europe,” said Alessio Leone, Head of Camo Operations, ITA Airways. “ITA is the first full service carrier in Europe with a new fleet fully equipped with this cutting-edge technology by Inmarsat Aviation, delivering operational and environmental benefits.”
ITA will equip its entire fleet of Airbus A320neo and A330neo aircraft with Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) which powers the Iris programme. The aircraft will also contribute to the Iris demonstration flights, which are set to take place across European airspace during 2023, supported by 14 Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs).
Speaking about ITA Airways as a new addition to the programme, Joel Klooster, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation, said: “This shows the impressive momentum that continues to build around the programme as it heads towards commercial service introduction in Europe this year, followed by a full global rollout.”
ITA Airways joins the Iris programme following the introduction of Inmarsat’s SB-S after Airbus’ Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) terminal in December 2022, of which five airlines had equipped to their aircraft including Virgin Atlantic, Jet2, Transavia Airlines and most recently, ITA Airways and easyjet.
“Iris will mark a transformational step-change in air traffic management, delivering operational and environment benefits for airlines and the aviation industry as a whole, while also enhancing the flight experience for passengers,” added Klooster.
“We are proud to support the space enabled digitalisation of Europe’s skies, which will help to make aviation greener,” said Javier Benedicto, Acting Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, ESA, “investing in space improves life on Earth.”