Original equipment manufacturer Honeywell is interested in aiding countries outside the US in crafting required navigation performance (RNP) operations
Using RNP allows aircraft to fly more direct and precise paths to cut flight time and fuel consumption. Several carriers already use the procedures including RNP pioneer Alaska Airlines and Air New Zealand. Continental Airlines is developing a RNP programme while Southwest has already conducted a test flight from Dallas to Houston, and plans to begin rolling out RNP fleet-wide during the fourth quarter of this year. Late last year Delta Air Lines said it was working with FAA to gain RNP approval for its Boeing 777 fleet after having won authority from the agency for 737 operations.
Honeywell's own corporate flight department in Morristown, New Jersey is approved for RNP special aircraft and aircrew authorization (RNP-SAAR), and offers packages to business jet operators aiming to establish RNP operations. Elements of the packages include equipage, procedures design and operational approval.
During a recent interview with ATI Honeywell VP Airline Business Segment Michael Madsen says Honeywell has held discussions with airlines outside the US about developing RNP procedures, with European airlines having a keen interest in using RNP.
In the US Madsen explains Honeywell is close to what Southwest is doing in terms of its RNP development, and has done a small portion of commercial work with Alaska Airlines.
Opportunities could arise to aid carriers in devleoping markets in establishing RNP programmes. Madsen believes areas like India are likely to rebound sooner from economic turmoil as the size and spending level of middle class markets in those areas allows for those regions to lead growth.
In the short-term Honeywell is readying a software upgrade to allow Airbus A320 operators to reduce RNP values from 0.3nm to 0.1nm. The lower values allow for tighter flight tracks to help fuel savings and efficiency.
The 0.1nm value has been certified, and Honeywell has previously explained a testing programme is scheduled to start with some operators in April, with certification of the lower value for a single specific operator to follow.