The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has reacted angrily to European Union (EU)plans to push ahead with the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) despite vocal airline opposition on the grounds of the probable high user costs.

In an angry letter dated 22 May, AEA president and Lufthansa chairman Jürgen Weber questions why the European Union continues to pursue the EGNOS with "such vigour" and why it is now involving Eurocontrol and the European Space Agency in an operational project.

The AEA argues for the proposed Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS-2) "and/or" an autonomous landing system based on the draft standards laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and dubbed the Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS).

The European Programme for the Implementation of GBAS (EPIG) has already identified potential airports and airlines for trials. The EPIG team hopes to enable differential global positioning system Category 1 approaches by 2000 and is optimistic Cat 3 could be achieved by 2003-5, whereas the EGNOS could only ever provide Cat 1.

AEA assistant technical affairs manager Vincent de Vroey, says that Airbus Industrie has also talked to Asian carriers keen for Cat 1 GBAS. Airports identified by the team for the EPIG development phase include Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam, Chicago O'Hare and Atlanta.

Source: Flight International