GE Aviation is designing and deploying the first required navigation performance-authorization required (RNP-AR) to instrument landing system (ILS) flight procedure in China for Air China Southwest. The two merged technologies will provide more efficient routing and improved access for flight operations at Xi Chang Airport in south-central China. RNP paths rely on satellite-based navigation technology, not ground-based navigation aids.
“Using GE’s method of merging RNP to the ILS, operators can experience the track mile reduction benefits of RNP with the lower decision altitudes a precision landing system provides,” said GE Aviation air traffic optimization group general manager Giovanni Spitale. “Air China Southwest will have continuous lateral and vertical guidance all the way to the runway while navigating the challenging mountainous environment of Western China.”
According to GE, the Xi Chang RNP to ILS procedure will save Air China Southwest up to 14 nm per approach versus the conventional ILS procedure. GE also designed an RNP-AR approach to the non ILS-equipped runway, reducing the decision height by more than 575 feet.
Current operational problems at Xi Chang include weather related delays, one-direction traffic, flight cancellations and tailwind limitations on the ILS runway. The RNP-AR procedures will improve all-weather operations and allow for arrivals and departures on both runways, GE said. On departures, the procedures provide engine-out protection throughout the most critical time to the en route structure, especially considering that the airport is located in a valley with an elevation of 5,112 feet.
Since 2004, GE Aviation has worked with Air China and Chinese aviation authority CAAC to implement a network of RNP-AR procedures in the Asian country. GE has deployed RNP paths at seven other Chinese airports for the airline, improving access and schedule reliability while reducing fuel burn and track miles to many of the mountainous regions it serves.
In July, GE Aviation completed the world’s first RNP-AR to ILS with autoland flight capability for LAN Airlines at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. The technology lowers the aircraft landing minima at Lima to 100 feet when the three elements are combined. The use of RNP-AR transitions also enables aircraft to fly east of the airport in airspace that was previously unused due to terrain constraints.