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. Merging the two technologies will provide more efficient routing and improved access for flight operations at Xi Chang airport.
“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 Giovanni Spitale, general manager for GE Aviation’s Air Traffic Optimization group. “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.”
The Xi Chang RNP to ILS procedure will save Air China Southwest up to 14 nautical miles per approach, compared to 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 compared to the existing approach. Because RNP paths rely on satellite-based navigation technology, the airline does not have to rely on the outdated, ground-based navigation aids in place at the airport, improving schedule reliability.
Current operational problems at Xi Chang include weather related delays, one-direction traffic, flight cancellations, and tail wind limitations on the ILS runway. The GE-designed procedures will improve all-weather operations and allow for arrivals and departures on both runways. On departures, GE’s RNP procedures provide engine-out protection throughout the most critical time to the enroute structure. Xi Chang airport is located in Sichuan province, southwest of Chengdu, in a five kilometer wide (16,400 feet) valley at 1,588 meters (5,112 feet) elevation.
Since 2004, GE Aviation has worked closely with Air China and the CAAC to implement a network of RNP AR procedures in China. GE has deployed RNP paths at seven other Chinese airports for the airline, improving access and schedule reliability while reducing fuel and track miles to many of the mountainous regions it serves.