Airbus is hopeful that the International Civil Aviation Organisation will
finally issue revised guidelines for the A380s separation distances before the
end of the year, but is reluctant to disclose what it expects the new values
Last year ICAO ruled that the separation distances for aircraft following an
A380 on approach had to be between 2nm and 4nm (3.7km and 7.4km) greater than
the values for a "heavy" category aircraft such as a Boeing 747.
Airbus has undertaken extensive back-to-back flight testing of the A380 with
other aircraft ranging from the A318 and A340 to the Boeing 777 and 747, taking
detailed measurements using Lidar laser radar technology. This data was
presented to ICAO in 2007 and a new ruling was expected before the end of last
year, but the evaluation of the data continues, says A380 chief engineer Marc Guinot. "We should be able to announce a reduction in
separation distances in the second half of 2008."
Guinot says that until the studies "are fully
blessed by everybody, Airbus cannot comment" on what the revised distances
are likely to be. However, he adds that the "first priority" is to
get the A380's increased separation to medium category aircraft such as the
Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 reduced from the current "plus 3nm", but
concedes that he does not expect the figure to be "completely
eliminated" this year. "We expect reductions in the distances for the
other categories to follow," he says.