Southwest Airlines will invest $175 million during the next
six years to implement required navigation performance (RNP) procedures at the 64
airports the carrier serves, having received US FAA approval to conduct such
Rollout of RPN, which relies on satellite-based navigation
instead of ground-based systems, will begin late next year, likely at Dallas
and Houston airports, Southwest senior director flight
operations Jeff Martin said during the ATW-Leeham
Company Eco-Aviation conference in Washington,
Southwest’s Boeing 737-700s are equipped to operate RNP
procedures and classic airplanes will be modified to be RNP-capable, Martin
By 2015, the carrier estimates the new procedures will
reduce emissions by 156,000 metric tons per year and result in $25 million in
fuel savings per year.
“Hopefully the rest of the industry will follow once we
prove the business case,” he adds.
In addition to readying aircraft, the airline will train
more than 5,700 pilots in 18 months, begin developing charted procedures with partner
Naverus and request the US air traffic control system (ATC)
adopt RNP procedures.