EGNOS in Aviation: Vertical Precision for Improved Approaches

EGNOS is the European Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) interoperable with WAAS (US) and MSAS (Japan). By augmenting the existing GPS signals, it offers enhanced vertical precision and integrity ("guaranteed signal"), allowing pilots to rely on it for a safe approach at places or under meteorological conditions previously not possible. All you need is an on-board EGNOS certified receiver, an adapted approach procedure for the runway end and corresponding flight management system functions. There are no investments and maintenance costs for ground infrastructure required.


The EGNOS approach: anytime anywhere

EGNOS is designed to assist air navigation both en route as well as during landing. It will assist air traffic control to enhance safety, cope with increased traffic, and may reduce the infrastructure needed on the ground.

  • Safety and accessibility - increased (vertical) accuracy and integrity means the decision height can be lowered (APV-I), depending on local geography, potentially down to as low as 200ft. Non-ILS equipped airports with a challenging surrounding geography, or suffering from bad weather, become much more accessible and the number of controlled flights into terrain decreases.
  • Improve flexibility – EGNOS allows RNAV and performance based navigation (PBN), for advanced arrival, approach and departure procedures
  • Cost efficiency and the environment – More accessible runways reduce delays and diversions due to bad weather. EGNOS also allows more precise, shorter approaches, all of which results in reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emission, and often noise reduction for the airport surroundings. Later on, ADF and VORs may be withdrawn, potentially resulting in reduced airport user charges.

Coming to an airport near you soon...

The EGNOS Safety of Life signal is scheduled to be certified in 2010. From then onwards, it may be used for approaches using a certified receiver, FMS and SBAS procedure. The signal will be provided free of charge (until firther notice).

EGNOS enabled receivers are widely available because of the compatibility with the WAAS system.

The European ANSPs, responsible for designing approach procedures, are busy preparing for performance based navigation procedures as suggested by the ICAO recommendations on Approach with Vertical Guidance (APV) implementation (availability everywhere by 2016, with 30% by 2012 and 70% by 2014). Some are already preparing EGNOS procedures.


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Updated: Sep 17, 2015