GE Aviation Systems is promoting a comprehensive performance-based navigation (PBN) demonstration at two medium-sized airports, in part to verify an internal analysis that revealed significant savings from a broader version of the test.

Lorraine Bolsinger, president of GE Aviation Systems, is planning to meet the leaders of the US Federal Aviation Administration's next generation air transport system (Nextgen) project to discuss the "next steps" for demonstrating the need for a rapid transition to certain satellite-based air transport management methods, primarily required navigation procedures (RNP), a subset of PBN.

With RNP, properly equipped aircraft and trained crews can fly tailored GPS-based terminal area and approach procedures that reduce noise and distance to the airport - cutting fuel burn and fuel costs, and reducing carbon emissions.

Many new generation aircraft are already equipped with the airborne elements of the system, meaning funding would be needed primarily to develop the procedures themselves and to train pilots and air traffic controllers.

In a study of the impact of public-use RNP procedures at 46 mid-size airports in the USA presented in May, GE said that participating airlines would save nearly 50 million litres (13 million USgal) of fuel annually ($65.6 million in savings) and cut CO2 emissions by 125 million kg (274 million lb) while saving a cumulative total of 747 days of flight time.

"I wish the Nextgen initiative was farther along," said Bolsinger. "I think it has to get some legs and some credibility in short order. There are a lot of pigs at the funding trough."

Source: Flight Daily News