South American airline LAN Airlines flew Latin America's first continuously guided flight from takeoff to landing using Performance-based Navigation (PBN) technology, the airline said Thursday. The PBN flight plan between Cusco and Lima, designed by GE Aviation, is part of the Green Skies of Peru project, a collaborative effort among LAN, GE Peru's air navigation service provider CORPAC and regulator DGAC.
According to GE, deploying a continuous PBN city pair flight path creates additional predictability and continuity throughout the entire flight, compared to a single PBN arrival or departure path, while solving operational challenges at the individual airports.
The PBN departure, en-route, arrival and approach procedures will save participating airlines on average 19 track miles, 6.3 minutes, 450 pounds of fuel and 1,420 pounds of CO2 emissions per flight, and will enable increased capacity at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, GE Aviation said. “Operational excellence, passenger service and environmental protection are the pillars of our sustainability strategy, as reflected in this initiative,” said Jorge Vilches, CEO of LAN Peru. “At LAN Peru, we have made a great effort to properly train our pilots, to equip our A319/320 aircraft with state-of-the-art technology, to obtain DGAC certification for these types of operations, and to design and deploy these highly specialized procedures in collaboration with GE Aviation. This is, undoubtedly, big news for our country, and will be of great benefit to all our passengers.”
A formal trial will commence allowing the team to validate the benefits and the paths under various operating conditions and finalize the deployment plan.
In 2009, GE, in collaboration with IATA, designed and deployed Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approach procedures for LAN at Cusco to improve access into the airport that is flanked by the Andes Mountains. Prior to the RNP paths, it was typical for one or more of LAN's 15-21 scheduled flights per day into Cusco to be delayed or diverted due to poor weather and low visibility. Since the RNP paths have been in use at Cusco, GE said LAN has reduced cancellations from 12 to five, flight delays by 45 percent and un-stabilized approaches by 94 percent, per month on average. During the first year of RNP use at Cusco, more than 30,000 of LAN Peru´s passengers avoided flight cancellations or delays.