JetBlue inaugurates RNP approach at JFK

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JetBlue Airways became the first US airline to use satellited-based required navigation performance (RNP) capability at New York's John F Kennedy airport today.

The Airbus A320 aircraft used RNP to land on runway 13L at JFK, avoiding the challenging Canarsie approach.

The technology is designed to streamline final apporach paths and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to implement it at the 100 busiest airports around the country.

RNP provides both lateral and vertical guidance to an aircraft's autopilot, enabling a steady, 3% descent glide slope rather than a series of "dive and drives" when an aircraft is on approach.

Aircraft equipped with RNP can also be controlled in a tighter lane on final approach. That allows the controllers on the ground to create more approach paths, which is hoped to eventually relieve some of the congestion at JFK.

JetBlue estimates that the RNP approach will save 51.4kg (18gal) on each approach to runways 13L and 13R at JFK compared with conventional instrument approaches.

The carrier also plans to implement RNP capabilities on its fleet of Embraer 190s in the near future, JetBlue says.