FAA, Airline Officials Update RNP, RNAV Progress

By Tish Drake | May 9, 2007
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Performance-based navigation procedures are saving the airline industry millions of dollars in fuel, cutting emissions and increasing efficiency, industry officials say. At a press conference Tuesday at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., FAA, the Air Transport Association and airline officials updated the progress of required navigational performance (RNP) approaches and area navigation (RNAV) procedures at airports including Atlanta Hartsfield and Dallas-Fort Worth. RNAV allows aircraft operation on a desired course within coverage of navaids, rather than requiring an aircraft to track directly to or from a specific navaid. FAA said it has implemented 155 RNAV arrivals and departures to date at 38 airports, with 42 more to be published by the end of the year. RNAV is saving about $8.5 million per year annually at Dallas-Fort Worth, with RNAV departures allowing between 11 and 20 additional operations per hour, the agency said. Delta Airlines reported saving $36 million annually at Atlanta, with 10 additional departures per hour. RNP takes advantage of an aircraft’s onboard navigation capability to fly a more precise flight path to an airport, and increases airport access during marginal weather. FAA reported 37 RNP approaches in place at 17 airports, with another 34 approaches planned by the end of the year. On Thursday, the agency will publish 10 additional RNP approach procedures at Atlanta and three at DFW. It plans to publish “at least” 25 such approaches in 2008. “Bottom line: performance-based navigation is the right thing at the right time,” said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. “Performance-based navigation is green. It flat-out saves fuel. It relieves congestion, alleviates choke points and reduces delays. It increases efficiency by providing smoother traffic flow.”

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