Aena Air Navigation Directorate uses SmartPath® to increase operability, efficiency and landing assurance at one of Europe’s busiest tourist hubs
Honeywell Aerospace’s (NYSE: HON) SmartPath Precision Landing System, which simultaneously reduces weather-related delays, lowers air traffic noise, improves flight efficiency and increases airport capacity, has started operating at Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport in Spain. A ceremonial flight with Air Berlin was organised by navigation service provider Aena Air Navigation Directorate on May 5 to mark the start of the system’s use for unrestricted commercial flight operations.
SmartPath is the world’s only certified Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS), a technology that augments GPS signals to make them suitable for precision approach and landing, before broadcasting the data to approaching aircraft. It overcomes many of the limitations of Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) traditionally used by airports to guide aircraft as they approach the runway.
“Today is an important milestone for Aena with the entry into service of Honeywell’s SmartPath Precision Landing System, an important step forward in terms of safety, cost-effectiveness and operability for airspace users,” said Enrique Maurer, Aena Air Navigation Systems Directorate.
“The use of this satellite navigation system underlines Aena’s commitment to incorporate the very latest technologies to improve air traffic services.”
Malaga Airport is the fourth busiest airport in Spain and has flight connections to over 60 countries worldwide. It currently serves more than 12.5 million passengers per year. Because the city is a popular tourist destination, maximising landing assurance and operational efficiency at its airport remains a top priority for Aena Air Navigation Directorate, which is leading the GBAS initiative at the airport.
“With significant passenger growth occurring at many airports globally, the pressure on legacy ILS systems to support increasing traffic volumes is greater than ever before,” said Pat Reines, senior product manager, SmartPath, Honeywell Aerospace.
“Unlike ILS, GBAS supports multiple approaches simultaneously, reducing airspace congestion and lowering airport noise and emissions. Aena Air Navigation Directorate is ambitious about the implementation of satellite navigation-based operations, and its forward-looking approach to air traffic services has identified Honeywell’s SmartPath GBAS as a cost-effective, easy-to-install and more flexible alternative to conventional systems.”
SmartPath supports up to 26 precision approaches for aircraft across up to four runways simultaneously, eliminating the need for multiple ILS systems at airports with several runways. It reduces maintenance costs as it does not require the same level of manual calibration as ILS, and it reduces tarmac congestion and increases airport throughput by mitigating the need for taxiing aircraft to “short-hold.”
Nearly 20 airports around the world have adopted SmartPath to increase capacity, improve efficiency and maximise landing assurance. As well as the recent contract award to SmartPath at Frankfurt International Airport, Germany, and delivery of the system to India’s Chennai International Airport, Honeywell’s system is now installed at Sydney International Airport, Australia, and due to begin operation for commercial flights in the next few months. Other airports that selected the system include Houston, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey, in the US; Bremen, Germany; and Zurich, Switzerland.
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