five European airlines have so far secured approval to conduct new
precision-navigation operations in terminal airspace, as the continent’s
airports prepare to implement new arrival and departure flight paths which will
require higher levels of navigation accuracy.
from Eurocontrol indicates that only SAS, Finnair and three SAS Group carriers
– Braathens, Wideroe and Air Botnia – have formally received approval for the
new precision area navigation (P-RNAV) operations.
aircraft presently have to be able to operate along a flight path to within a
lateral accuracy of 5nm (9.2km) for 95% of the time. This capability is known
as ‘basic’ area navigation (B-RNAV) and eliminates the need for ground-based
navaids – thereby allowing the aircraft to fly a more direct and efficient
B-RNAV is fine for en route navigation it is not considered accurate enough to
guarantee safety below certain altitudes, which means that it generally cannot
be used for terminal airspace navigation.
area navigation, on the other hand, tightens the lateral accuracy requirement
to just 1nm (1.85km). This allows airports to implement more efficient
departure and arrival routes.
is not mandating P-RNAV approval. But it is stressing that, from 20 March next
year – and in some cases earlier – countries will require airlines to be
P-RNAV-certified in order to conduct area navigation procedures in terminal
airspace. Aircraft without such systems will have to rely on alternative,
possibly less-efficient, procedures such as the use of conventional navaids for
arrival and departure.
equipment on modern aircraft is generally capable of meeting the more-rigorous
criteria of P-RNAV. But a Eurocontrol spokesman says that airlines will face
being potentially inconvenienced in terminal airspace if they fail to seek the
region states are heading up the drive to implement P-RNAV. Helsinki-Vantaa
Airport is to be among the first to put P-RNAV procedures in place this month;
introduction of the new procedures will coincide with the opening of the
airport’s new third runway on 28 November.