An advanced instrument landing system has been deployed at Belfast International Airport following its successful installation at NATS, an air navigation services provider in the UK.

The Indra Navia instrument landing system (ILS) and associated Indra distance measuring equipment (DME) account for the airport’s latest investment in a technology, which has been designed and developed to facilitate safe aircraft landing.

Pilots find it difficult to establish visual contact with the runway, especially in poor weather conditions.

“It was good to see the various teams within NATS working together to meet our customer’s needs and expectations."

With the transmission of radio signals giving horizontal and vertical guidance, ILS technology can serve as a valuable precision runway-approach aid.

The new Indra LDB-103 DME installed at Belfast International is the first of its type to be installed at a UK airport.

Belfast International’s instrument and antenna upgrade was undertaken earlier this year and the work was completed by the NATS NAVAID installation team with no disruption to airport operations and flight schedules.

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NATS air traffic services general manager at Belfast International Airport Michael Cockcroft said: “It was good to see the various teams within NATS working together to meet our customer’s needs and expectations.

“It was good to see the various teams within NATS working together to meet our customer’s needs and expectations. This exciting project has been delivered without any negative effect on service delivery and no erosion of safety margins.

In mid-June, work was undertaken to replace the runway’s existing ILS with the new Runway 25 Indra Navia equipment, including a new localiser and glidepath antenna systems.

Cockcroft added: “Careful management of the new antenna systems construction, which took place in front of the old structure, allowed operators to switch from one system to the other during the upgrade. This allowed us to ensure reliable continuity of service throughout the project without impacting either system’s performance.”

Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie said its investment in upgraded equipment gave the airport a clear advantage in the aviation sector:

Keddie said: “The safety of passengers and aircraft is our number one priority and this equipment upgrade underlines that commitment. We are regarded as an airport of choice whenever pilots decide to divert in bad weather and now our status will be further enhanced.

“Projects as technical as this one inevitably throw up a number of challenges but, working alongside the professional team from NATS, they were successfully resolved.” 

This replacement system completed its site acceptance testing and commissioning flight inspection in July and, following mo than 300h of Category I service without incident, the new Runway 25 ILS system was upgraded to Category III earlier this month. It is now in full operation at Belfast International Airport.