Air navigation service provider Airservices Australia has committed to implement the world's first nationwide performance-based navigation (PBN) network over the next five years.
The agency has just signed an agreement with US procedures design specialist Naverus to develop required navigation performance (RNP) procedures for 28 airports throughout the country.
PBN, of which RNP approaches are an example, reduces time and distance flown and therefore minimises fuel use and aircraft emissions. In addition, more flexible approach and departure routeing allows noise nuisance to communities to be reduced.
Airservices has been at the forefront of PBN developments for some time (Flight International, 28 April-4 May). It launched the first stage of its Brisbane Green Project in 2007, with Qantas Boeing 737-800s operating RNP approaches and departures developed by Airservices and Naverus at Brisbane International airport in the first integration of RNP approaches and departures at a busy international airport.
The procedures are saving on average 2.6min of flying time, 125kg (275lb) of fuel and 390kg of carbon dioxide per flight. The project was subsequently extended to Gold Coast and Cairns airports.
Airservices estimates that implementation of RNP at up to 28 airports could result in a reduction of 122 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and save 39 million kilogrammes of fuel a year. The overall cost of the multi-million dollar project will depend on the number of airports ultimately selected, says Airservices, adding that it will be funded through normal revenue.
"We believe the projected savings in fuel burn will more than offset the cost of implementation, before taking into account any additional savings from the reduced need for ground-based infrastructure," the service provider adds.
RNP procedures have already been developed for 16 airports throughout the country - Adelaide, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Brisbane, Broome, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hobart, Kalgoorlie, Melbourne, Mount Isa, Port Hedland, Sydney and Townsville. The project will cover all airports which receive regular passenger transport traffic, says Airservices.
The proposal was presented to operators at Airservices' Waypoint 2009 meeting in Canberra earlier this month. Airservices says: "There was clear demand from carriers for this type of infrastructure, although there were varying options on which airports were priorities, how many should be brought on stream and how quickly."