Friday, October 29, 2010

Cochin Airspace to get Performance-Based Navigation

Airports
Av Week Daily
Oct 29, 2010

As part of an extensive effort to make the airspace safer and less congested around Cochin, India, International Airport, the Airports Authority of India has introduced Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) procedures.

The newest piece of technology in the works is Required Navigation Performance (RNP)—a part of PBN—that will be operational by February 2011.

The RNP at Cochin is being implemented and financed by Airbus subsidiary Quovadis, with the support of the French Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA).

An RNP allows an aircraft to fly a specific path along a predefined route using an onboard navigation system and Global Positioning System (GPS). Recommended by ICAO, its operational benefits include improved precision of flight operation, increased access to airports, particularly in low-visibility conditions requiring fewer ground-based instrument landing aids, and lower flight time and fuel consumption and lower noise and emissions.

The project has moved fast since the decision was made to install the technology early this year. By November, air traffic controllers will undergo training in Cochin, says Paul-Frank Bijou, CEO of Quovadis. “The next step is for air traffic controllers to feel comfortable with the technology,” says Bijou.

Airlines flying into Cochin on a narrowbody will save 40 nautical miles and 400 kg of fuel as a result. “We decided on Cochin, as we wanted to start with a mid-size environment,”says Bijou. “There is also a good reason to do this in Mumba,i as the primary benefit for airlines is the reduction of nautical miles,” he adds.

While an initial “hold-back” attitude to new technology is expected from controllers, Bijou is confident that “because the trajectory is predictable, they will find they have to work less after the learning curve.”

The plan is to pass the knowledge around. “Our philosophy is to train the trainer,” says Bijou. As India looks to training controllers s in-house, it is likely the Airbus training could be used for other airports in India.
-Neelam Mathews

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