Shanghai. Using Honeywell Aerospace’s SmartPath precision landing system at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and Air Traffic Management Bureau completed its first flight demonstration of next generation GPS-based precision landing capabilities here May 28.
This demonstration highlights how GPS-based precision landing systems, called Ground-Based Augmentation Systems, or GBAS, can improve the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations, especially throughout poor-weather conditions. Precision landings utilise both lateral and vertical information of an aircraft’s position to provide the most accurate approach and landing.
SmartPath is the world’s only FAA-certified precision landing system. This cost effective system will increase airport capacity, decrease air traffic noise, reduce weather-related delays and reduce operating costs for both aircraft operators and air navigation service providers for one of the busiest airports in the world.
“China’s air traffic has grown exponentially over the years, driven by domestic and international travel,” said Brian Davis, Vice President, Airlines, Asia Pacific at Honeywell Aerospace. “The adoption of Honeywell’s SmartPath at Shanghai Pudong International Airport marks a milestone for the modernisation of air traffic management in China, where this new technology can ease aircraft delays, reduces emissions and improves airport efficiencies in one of the fastest growing economies in the world.”
Easing the Challenges of China’s Growing Air Traffic
According to the International Air Transport Association, China will have 415 million fliers annually by 2016, second only to the United States in domestic passenger volume. The upsurge in passengers makes modernisation of air traffic management a critical issue for China’s major hubs.
As a response to growing passenger demand, SmartPath is an important investment to meet demand, drive productivity and ensure airports are better equipped to service airlines and passengers. Combined with performance-based navigation procedures, a twin-engine, single-aisle jet aircraft can save per flight approximately 82 kilogram of fuel and 104 kilogram of carbon emissions with a reduction of four minutes of flying time. This potential for efficiency improvement addresses China’s “battle of conserving energy, reducing emissions and improving the environment,” which was raised as a national concern by Premier Li Keqiang.
Industry Support for Precision Landing Systems
Honeywell’s SmartPath is the only GBAS to have achieved operational certifications from regulatory authorities in the United States, Australia, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. SmartPath overcomes many of the technological limitations of Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), which are the legacy systems used to support precision landings. By utilising Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), SmartPath provides a highly accurate position based on digital data, which enables aircraft to fly flexible approach paths that support more efficient terminal operations, while also avoiding common interference issues that are inherent with the analog ILS technology. This is imperative especially for airports where terrain, obstacles or restricted airspace limit the optimum use or installation of ILS.
Honeywell partnered closely with Hughes Aerospace Corporation to develop procedures for the trial at Pudong International Airport. “As Honeywell’s partner in performance-based navigation, Hughes worked closely with Honeywell, CAAC and the airlines to develop the first GNSS Landing System instrument approaches in China,” said Chris Baur, President and CEO, Hughes Aerospace Corporation. “These approaches use the most advanced technology featuring both curved paths and variable geometric glide paths, delivering advanced precision navigation.”
SmartPath Precision Landing System Benefits
- Reduces tarmac congestion and increases airport turnover by eliminating the need for taxiing aircraft to wait for others to take off, through the elimination of ILS critical hold setback zones.
- Supports up to 26 precision aircraft approaches. SmartPath provides precision approach capabilities to all runways at an airport, eliminating the need for multiple ILS systems for different runways. In Shanghai Pudong, a single Honeywell SmartPath system is now providing precision Category I landing approaches to all four runways.
- Reduces flight inspections, thereby reducing overall inspection costs.
- Reduces maintenance costs, yielding an annual maintenance savings of up to $400,000 as compared to ILS.
5. SmartPath is fail operational, which means any single part can fail and the system will remain safe and operational.
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