ATM Modernization

Inmarsat to Help ESA Open up the Skies with Iris

The Iris Program aims to put more planes in the sky more easily. (Photo courtesy of Inmarsat)

Radio frequencies throughout the skies are nearing full capacity and bottlenecking the number of planes that can be in the sky at any given time, according to Inmarsat. The solution, it says, is satcom.

In pursuit of that goal, the European Space Agency recently launched the Iris Program on Inmarsat’s Swift Broadband-Safety platform. Inmarsat said that this move to satellite reliance and unburdening of terrestrial communications networks will enable the aviation growth and improved ATM targeted by the European Commission and SESAR. It allows for the accurate pinpointing of an aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time, which is a concept defined by SESAR, helping to facilitate efficient planning and use of aircraft.

The company also said that additional flights would make the process more pleasant and convenient for passengers.

ESA and Inmarsat have said they expect the number of flights across Europe to increase by 50% over the next two decades, though no timeline was provided on the adoption of the Iris Program’s technology for aviation communication.

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