GE Aviation and Chile’s LAN Airlines recently conducted the first flight in Latin America using precise performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures from takeoff to landing. The February 23 demonstration flight involved a LAN Airbus A320 flying from the tourist destination of Cusco, in southeastern Peru, to Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport.
GE’s Seattle-based PBN Services designed the GPS-guided procedures, including a Required Navigation Performance Authorization Required (RNP AR) departure from Cusco, located in the Andes mountain range, an en route area navigation (Rnav) flight path and an RNP AR approach into Lima. An aircraft flying RNP AR must maintain tight lateral and vertical accuracy on all segments. Rnav flight paths use GPS or ground navaids for reference.
The flight took place under the Green Skies of Peru project, a collaboration of LAN, GE Aviation, Peru’s Corpac air navigation service provider and the country’s DGAC regulatory agency. GE said the procedures will save participating airlines on average 19 track miles, 6.3 minutes, 450 pounds of fuel and 1,420 pounds of CO2 emissions per flight. LAN flies the Cusco-Lima route 11 to 17 times a day, depending on the season.
“Operational excellence, passenger service and environmental protection are the pillars of our sustainability strategy, as reflected in this initiative,” said LAN Peru CEO Jorge Vilches. “We have made a great effort to train our pilots properly, to equip our A319/320s with state-of-the-art technology, to obtain DGAC certification for these types of operations and to design and deploy these highly specialized procedures in collaboration with GE Aviation. This is, undoubtedly, big news for our country, and will be of great benefit to all our passengers.”
In collaboration with the International Air Transport Association, GE designed RNP approach procedures for LAN at Cusco in 2009. LAN then chose the company to develop RNP at five other airports it serves, including Lima. The Cusco-Lima demonstration flight began a formal trial that will validate the flight procedures under various operating conditions and finalize the deployment plan, GE said.