United Parcel Service is investigating the possibility of using its new SafeRoute self-spacing and ground safety cockpit aid to reduce noise and boost efficiency and ground safety at its Cologne/Bonn hub airport.

The deployment would be the cargo carrier's second application of the technology, originally developed for and recently certificated at its Louisville, Kentucky hub in the USA. The company expects to take the system operational at Louisville by mid-August, pending US Federal Aviation Administration approval.

SafeRoute, developed primarily by L-3 and Thales subsidiary ACSS uses automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast (ADS-B) equipment, Boeing-supplied integrated electronic flight bags and specialised software to allow pilots to perform self-spacing when arriving at the airport. It gives pilots "own-ship" position on a Jeppesen-provided digital airport map to minimise the risk of runway incursions during ground operations.

Karen Lee, director of operations at UPS Airlines, says by using SafeRoute for "next generation" controlled-descent arrivals at Louisville, the carrier expects to realise a 30% reduction in noise, a 10-15% increase in capacity and a 34% cut in emissions at altitudes below 3,000ft (915m). Lee says Cologne is a "logical extension" of the programme. Noise concerns are critical at the airport given that UPS operates most of its flights in the middle of the night and a guarantee from the local federal state North Rhine Westphalia for 24h operations expires in 2015.

Phase one of SafeRoute, which UPS hopes to implement before its 100th anniversary on 28 August, calls for using the tool during low-density operations and only on one approach at Louisville. Phase two, planned for the third quarter next year, calls for SafeRoute to be used during high-density operations on multiple runways.

Meanwhile, ACSS last week also revealed that it has signed an agreement with Airbus to study the certification of its T3CAS product on the A320 family and A330/A340. With T3CAS, which integrates traffic and terrain warnings and alerts as well as Mode S transponder functionality in a single line-replaceable unit, airlines will be able to develop and perform the types of procedures being rolled out by UPS for Louisville and elsewhere.


Source: Flight International