At the recent ATC Global conference and exhibition in Amsterdam, the GSA and ESSP presented awards to officials from three countries in recognition of their work to introduce EGNOS in the aviation sector.
"Satellite navigation is a natural evolution for the aviation sector," said European GNSS Agency (GSA) Executive Director, Carlo des Dorides, "and it introduces a major paradigm shift for technologies supporting Air Traffic Control and Management over the last several decades. Using EGNOS, the European satellite-based augmentation system, now certified for civil aviation, is the first step in that direction."
Ken Ashton accepted the award on behalf of the UK's National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the main air navigation service provider in the United Kingdom.
NATS has been instrumental in the development of EGNOS-based approach procedures for the UK Channel Islands. Aurigny Air Services, which provides air transport between Southampton and Alderney, began flight-testing its new EGNOS-ready avionic in 2011. Operational services, using new EGNOS-based procedures, began in 2012.
The work was carried out under the auspices of the 'APV-Aurigny' project, a joint Eurocontrol/European Commission-backed initiative.
A replacement for ground-based systems
For decades, airport landing approaches have been flown using relatively costly ground-based instrument landing systems (ILSs). These emit guide beams that enable pilots to follow a precise lateral and vertical path. With new satellite-based navigation technologies, aircraft can approach an airport independently of any ground installations, with pilots using satellite signals to determine their positions.
Germany jumps ahead
Also at the ATC event in Amsterdam, the GSA and ESSP awarded a certificate to Ralph Riedle, COO at Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), the company in charge of air traffic control in Germany, for having published the first EGNOS procedures in that country.
On 15 December 2011, DFS made available 82 APV-Baro procedures for pilots flying with EGNOS-enabled equipment. With the total number of available procedures for EGNOS users previously standing at just seven, Germany immediately jumped into the lead as the main destination for EGNOS users in Europe.
Switzerland joins the club
Skyguide, Switzerland’s air navigation service provider was also awarded a distinction for its introduction of new EGNOS based approach procedures.
"It is a real pleasure to see this European solution also being used outside the EU," said Gian Gherardo Calini, Head of Market Development at the GSA, "especially because EGNOS is bringing huge benefits in mountainous regions like Switzerland."
Skyguide adopted its first EGNOS-based approach procedures in November 2011, introduced at the regional airports of St. Gallen-Altenrhein and Les Eplatures, near Neuchatel.
“We have been working on the adoption of new technologies such as satellite navigation for the aviation sector for several years now,” said Skyguides COO Alex Bristol, accepting the award in Amsterdam on the company’s behalf.
“Satellite navigation offers substantially more possibilities than are provided by conventional ground-based navigation systems," Bristol said, "and we are convinced that this new technology will play a major role in the further development of flight procedures over the next few years. We are delighted to receive this award and we regard it as clear confirmation that we are on the right track.”
- 'French aviation's strong support for EGNOS recognised'
- For the full list of existing and planned EGNOS-based flight procedures, see here.