Reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) will be implemented in Pacific oceanic airspace on 24 February as part of a longstanding plan to enhance airspace capacity.

Under the plan, vertical separation will be reduced to 1,000ft (300m) from 2,000ft between flight levels 290 and 390 for aircraft approved for RVSM operation.

The first implementation is scheduled for the Anchorage, Auckland, Brisbane, Nadi, Naha, Oakland, Tahiti and Tokyo flight information regions (FIRs) at 07:00GMT on 24 February. While RVSM will be implemented between flight levels 290 and 390 for those sectors, in the Port Moresby FIR it will be between flight levels 310 and 390.

At the same time, 50nm (92km) lateral separation requiring RNP10 navigation performance standard approval will be implemented on the Central East Pacific (Hawaii) Track System between flight levels 290 and 390. The new lateral separation standards were introduced last year on routes in other parts of the Pacific.


The RNP10 standard requires aircraft to be able to maintain lateral positional accuracy to within 9.25km (5nm) for 95% of the time for 10h continuously without Global Positioning System-augmentation.

In Singapore, IATA Asia-Pacific infrastructure director Tony Laven says that last year's lateral separation changes were implemented successfully, allowing for the introduction of the vertical separation changes that should improve utilisation of airspace and provide fuel savings for aircraft operators.

Laven says the Pacific RVSM Task Force, which groups the member states of the ICAO Asia and Pacific Air Navigation Planning and Implementation Group, took a decision to implement the changes during a meeting in Honolulu on 20-22 January.

He says that an initial stage of implementation will cover "tactical use of the levels," meaning in the initial stage not all RVSM-equipped aircraft will be cleared for operation under the new standards. The Task Force expects to meet again in April, however, to approve wider use.

Source: Flight Daily News