The first satellite-based precision approach system in the southern hemisphere enabled by Honeywell’s SmartPath entered service last week at Australia’s Sydney Airport. The technology, which is also known as a ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) in the U.S., offers precision guidance to within three feet of the runway centerline.
Australian air traffic management provider Airservices used its own extensive experience in satellite navigation technology to partner with Honeywell Aerospace in developing the SmartPath system used at Sydney. Honeywell is the world’s first and, so far, only GBAS supplier to have achieved system design approval by the FAA.
In conjunction with flag carrier Qantas, Airservices began an operational test and evaluation of the Honeywell GBAS in December 2012 that allowed suitably equipped Boeing 737-800s and Airbus A380s with qualified flight crews to fly SmartPath approaches. Qantas conducted more than 750 GBAS approaches, on top of more than 2,000 approaches the airline made during an earlier trial of a prototype system between 2006 and 2010 at Sydney Airport.
Airservices said the new system can provide up to 26 simultaneous instrument approaches within a 25-mile radius of the airport.