ESSP obtains EASA certification as pan-European Communication Services Provider for Iris (ISP)

September 18, 2023

ESSP (European Satellite Services Provider) has become the first pan-European company certified as a Communications Service Provider from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The news comes just weeks after Viasat/Inmarsat and ESSP signed a long-term contract with ESSP as the Service Provider for Iris datalink services, powered by Viasat’s SwiftBroadband Safety (SB-S) connectivity.

Led by the European Space Agency (ESA), Iris enables aircraft to fly more fuel-efficient routes by providing digital satellite communications to complement VHF data link, which is nearing a capacity crunch in congested airspace. By digitally connecting the ATM ecosystem, it enhances collaboration between pilots and air traffic controllers to maximise the use of airspace and reduce the impact of disruptions for passengers, while decreasing emissions through 4D Trajectory-Based Operations.

EASA has certified ESSP as a pan-European Communication Services Provider for data link services based on IRIS. The investigation activities were conducted by a team from ATM Oversight Section and took more than 18 months, including the execution of 4 audits at ESSP SAS and Inmarsat premises, to establish compliance with the applicable regulation and associated industrial standards for datalink services. A Service Definition Document (SDD) was prepared by ESSP SAS to describe the intended IRIS communication services, including, among others, the target performance requirements, limitations and conditions of usage and service liability.

Charlotte Neyret, CEO of ESSP, said: “The EASA certification speaks volumes to the high quality of ESSP’s processes and the Iris service, and provides the backing of trust for those relying on this data for their services. We are looking forward to our long-lasting relationship with EASA to support their goal for safe and more efficient skies.”

Joel Klooster, Senior Vice President of Airline Operations and Safety, Viasat, said: “Today’s news continues the positive momentum that Iris continues to build as a trusted and future proofed datalink solution to Europe’s busy and congested airspace. It’s great news for ANSPs and airlines that our partner and Iris service provider ESSP is now certified by EASA.”

Iris will enter commercial and operational service fully in Europe next year with airlines including easyJet and ITA Airways, supporting the Single European Sky’s ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan.

ESSP will operate, provide, and lead the Iris service commercialization to European Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP’s).

The ESSP SAS consortium for the service provision is composed of ESSP SAS, Inmarsat and SITA. The addition of other Communication Network Providers (CNPs) such as NewPENS and Collins Aerospace is expected in the coming months.

Today’s news marks an important milestone for ESSP, becoming the only company to have gained pan-European certification from EASA for both satellite communications and satellite-based navigation services.

About EASA

For over 20 years, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been the dynamic centerpiece of aviation safety and environmental protection in Europe. As an independent and neutral body, EASA ensures confidence in safe air operations in Europe and world-wide by proposing and formulating rules, standards, and guidance; by certifying aircraft, parts, and equipment; and by approving and overseeing organizations in all aviation domains.
With over 800 employees from 31 European countries, the Agency is an inclusive and diverse workplace. EASA is constantly innovating through specialist research on emerging themes and technologies. Its global reputation is shaped by the competence of its staff and by fostering strong relationships with other leading aviation authorities worldwide.
Main tasks:

  • Draft implementing rules in all fields pertinent to the EASA mission
  • Certify & approve products and organizations, in fields where EASA has exclusive competence (e.g., airworthiness)
  • Provide oversight and support to Member States in fields where EASA has shared competence (e.g., Air Operations, Air Traffic Management)
  • Promote the use of European and worldwide standards.
  • Cooperate with international actors to achieve the highest safety level for EU citizens globally (e.g., EU safety list, Third Country Operators authorizations)

About ESSP

ESSP (European Satellite Services Provider) is a company founded by 7 key European ANSPs (Air Navigation Service Providers).

ESSP’s core business is the provision of Pan-European space-based Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) services. As multi-service CNS provider, ESSP operates complex space-based systems and delivers critical services under strict regulation conditions. ESSP is compliant to the highest standards, being the only private pan-European certified Air Navigation Service Provider by EASA.

ESSP offers specific engineering expertise including performance and network management of the latest space-based technologies such as but not limited to:

  • GNSS for Navigation
  • Datalink for Communications
  • ADS-B technology in Surveillance

We operate high-end systems, delivering our customers safe and secure performances for greener and connected worlds.

ESSP is EGNOS Service Provider. EGNOS is the European regional satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) used to improve the performance of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).

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