Airservices Australia is planning the next stage of its required navigation performance (RNP) project that it hopes will lead to a national roll-out of RNP procedures at major airports throughout the country.

Stage one of the Brisbane Green Project was launched in early 2007, with Qantas operating RNP approaches and departures, developed by Airservices and procedures design specialist Naverus, at Brisbane International airport, the country's third busiest. The project was a world first integration of RNP approaches and departures into a busy international airport, says Airservices.

The Brisbane Green Project was highlighted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in early April when it and global aviation bodies signed a declaration calling for the rapid implementation of performance-based navigation (PBN) such as RNP. PBN offers the potential to improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of global aviation, says ICAO.

Since January 2007 until the end of March 2009, Qantas's Boeing 737-800s have performed more than 13,000 RNP-AR (special) approaches into Brisbane and more than 3,000 into Cairns, says Airservices.

Qantas group carrier Jetstar's Airbus A320s are operating limited RNP arrivals into Gold Coast and Brisbane airports, while Air New Zealand is expected to join the project with limited operations with its A320s into Brisbane and Cairns initially in coming months, says the service provider.

In the next stage, Airservices has issued a request for proposals with a view to expanding the programme to 28 airports involving multiple aircraft types and operators. In addition to Brisbane, Cairns and Gold Coast, RNP procedures have been developed for Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Broome, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Kalgoorlie, Mount Isa, Port Hedland, Sydney and Townsville. RNP procedures are being finalised for Adelaide and Melbourne, with deployment scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

After analysing responses to the RFP, Airservices plans to consult with airlines and stakeholders to develop a national roll-out schedule covering all of Australia's major airports, says Airservices.

Source: Flight International