The Malaysia Department of Civil Aviation Authority (DCA) has approved AirAsia to begin flying required navigation performance (RNP) flight paths in Malaysia.
Approval was granted following a collaborative nationwide flight path program that began in 2012 between AirAsia, DCA and GE Aviation. The program was designed to improve operational efficiency at 15 airports in Malaysia, and GE Aviation's Flight Efficiency Services has now delivered RNP flight procedures for seven airports: Penang, Kuching, Langkawi, Johor Bahru, Miri, Sibu and Kota Bharu, with the remaining eight to follow.
Performance based navigation (PBN) allows pilots to use onboard avionics to follow a precise track independent of ground-based navigational aids that limit where the aircraft can go. RNP procedures are an advanced form of PBN technology which can shorten the distance an aircraft has to fly during the en-route phase of flight leading to fuel and emissions reduction, according to GE Aviation.
When the RNP paths are deployed for all 15 airports, AirAsia expects to save up more than $305,000 per year on reduced fuel costs.
"The RNP flight paths can save the airline up to 23 NM [nautical miles] at Kuching Airport and 18 NM at Kota Bharu, compared to the standard terminal arrival," said Giovanni Spitale, general manager of GE Aviation's Flight Efficiency Services. "Some of the new flight procedures, including Langkawi, provide aircraft with an instrument approach procedure and vertical guidance to runways that previously had none."