GE-designed Performance-based Navigation (PBN) flight paths were validated last week at Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport in the Sichuan Province of China. In this first public PBN project initiated by a Chinese airport, the paths will be available to all approved aircraft operators. Air China, China Eastern and Sichuan Airlines are the first three airlines that will fly the highly-precise flight paths. “GE worked diligently with each stakeholder to ensure the new flight paths were compatible and validated with each qualified operator’s specific aircraft types in order to maximize the benefit,” said Giovanni Spitale, general manager for GE Aviation’s PBN Services. “The PBN paths will not only improve aircraft performance and reliability into the region, but will help streamline air traffic management and improve airport capacity as well.” Located at 11,311 feet in the Min Shan mountain range, the steep terrain can make airport access challenging, especially during poor weather operations. The GE-designed, highly-accurate PBN paths will improve airport access and payload for all qualified operators, while providing an optimized lateral and vertical guidance to the runway. GE also harmonized the approach and departure paths to allow for simultaneous PBN operations. “Safety, efficiency and service reliability are top priorities for our airspace customers,” said Mr. Zhu, deputy general manager of the Jiuzhai airport. “The PBN paths will help us to better ensure their needs are met, while streamlining our airspace operations.” PBN technology allows aircraft to fly precisely-defined flight paths without relying on ground-based radio-navigation signals. Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures, an advanced form of PBN technology, can be designed to shorten the distance an aircraft has to fly en-route, and to reduce fuel burn, exhaust emissions and noise pollution in communities near airports. Because of RNP’s precision and reliability, the technology can help air traffic controllers reduce flight delays and alleviate air traffic congestion.