Civil Aviation Authority Sets Out Policy On Performance Based Navigation


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Civil Aviation Authority Sets Out Policy On Performance Based Navigation

By Daniel Baxter

April 19, 2011 - The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published proposed policy guidance on Performance-based Navigation (PBN) in UK and Irish Airspace. The document is a key component of the CAA’s Future Airspace Strategy, designed to help UK airspace evolve to meet future demands. 

Over the years, the UK’s airspace system has become complex and increasingly difficult to manage as it has been changed to meet different demands. In order to meet future demand safely and efficiently a radical rethink is required.  

The CAA, together with the Department for Transport, Ministry of Defense and NATS, is developing a proposal the Future Airspace Strategy to provide the safest and most efficient airspace possible.

The proposal reduce delays, which is aligned with European developments and technological changes, reduces the impact of aviation on the environment and balances the needs of all airspace users. The final strategy, which outlines the strategy for UK airspace up to 2030, will be published in June.

The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint. 

The PBN concept was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and moves aviation away from the traditional use of aircraft navigating by ground based beacons to a system more reliant on airborne technology, including use of global navigation satellite systems.  

PBN sets the level of accuracy, integrity and availability that the aircraft’s navigation systems will have to meet as well as the required functionality. This will allow the implementation of airspace structures that takes advantage of more accurate navigation, meaning that aircraft will be able to fly more direct routes more efficiently, resulting in reduced delays and environmental gains.  

The new policy has been developed by an industry group led by the CAA, which includes the Irish Aviation Authority, NATS, MoD, Airport Operators Association, EUROCONTROL and the major UK airlines, reflecting the joint working arrangements within the UK and Irish Functional Airspace Block. It sets the framework around which PBN can be applied as well as providing the regulatory framework to enable Air Navigation Service Providers to implement the system. 

The fact that PBN is on the forward path for both the Future Air Traffic Management Concept envisaged by ICAO and the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research program (SESAR), puts the UK and Ireland at the forefront of change.

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