Friday, 23 November 2018 00:40

Inmarsat inks agreement with European air navigation services providers

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Communications satellite provider Inmarsat has signed agreements with five major Air Navigation Services Providers in support of the Iris program to modernise air traffic management across Europe.

DFS (Germany), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK), who together handle the majority of European air traffic, will join an Initial Operational Capability pilot, marking a significant milestone for the early implementation phase of Iris.

Separately, Inmarsat has also signed a contract with European Satellite Services Provider, a company owned by European ANSPs and focused on safety of life services, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.

Under the contract, ESSP will work with Inmarsat  to help define the service and certification framework of the future Iris Service Provider, a company that will be appointed under the program to provide the European datalink communication services for Iris.

The Iris program is a partnership with the European Space Agency and led by Inmarsat to enable secure, high bandwidth datalink communications over Europe, with the objective to deploy more digital controller-pilot communications to improve the speed and accuracy of air traffic management across Europe’s congested airspace.

ANSPs will be able to rely on Iris’ certified, efficient and sustainable datalink to increaseair traffic management efficiency, relieve air traffic controller workload and enhance flight safety.

Iris is also designed to enable initial "4D" trajectories, pinpointing an aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time, which is one of the major concepts defined in the Single European Skyair traffic management Research modernisation program.

This will enable precise tracking of flights and more efficient management of traffic by allowing pilots and controllers to collaborate on flight trajectories and calculate the shortest available routes, cruise at optimum altitudes, and use continuous climb and descent path to reduce delays, save fuel and improve the environment.

John Broughton, vice-president, Safety and Operational Services at Inmarsat Aviation, said: “As we enter the early implementation phase of Iris, the range of ANSPs that have committed to further its development is testament to the programme’s significance to the European and global aviation industry.

“Iris is a truly collaborative partnership, and we are delighted to bring on board these industry-leading ANSPs to help deliver our shared goal of modernising air traffic management in Europe.”

“The satellite-based Iris system is a key element for a successful implementation in Europe of the Air Traffic Management Data Link Services (DLS) with the outlook to become a global worldwide solution,” said Magali Vaissiere, director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, ESA.

“We are extremely pleased that key European Air Navigation Service Providers have taken the challenge to exploit and strengthen the opportunity that Iris is offering for the benefit of European citizens now and in the coming years of digitalisation.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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