Zhangjiajie Airport in China has implemented required navigation performance (RNP) to instrument landing system (ILS) and public required navigation performance authorisation required (RNP AR) procedures to enhance safety and boost operational efficiency.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approved the implementation after China Southern Airlines' validated the procedures with an Airbus A320.
China Southern Airlines Operational Standards deputy general manager Zhang Yongqiang said: "This enables us to have some of the most modern design procedures available and allows us to choose different trajectories to suit our needs, such as RNP AR for shorter track when the weather is good, and RNP to ILS when lower landing minima are needed."
The introduction of the new procedures, which will address operational constraints at different levels, are developed in close cooperation between Zhangjiajie Airport Authority, China Southern Airlines, the regional Air Traffic Management Bureau (ATMB), Quovadis, Airbus and CAAC.
RNP to ILS trajectories would allow low ILS minima, while offering guidance during initial and transitional approach, which would remove unwanted cockpit alarms that are experienced by crews when executing conventional procedures.
The implementation of RNP AR procedures will provide the airport with a shorter track with up to 12nm savings, per approach, on one runway and 9nm on the other.
Additionally, RNP AR procedures offer a more comfortable approach through a 2.8° constant descent in the final approach, while reducing missed approach climb gradient.
In addition, the airspace redesign is aimed at allowing for better separation of departures and arrivals during peak hours, as the airport is surrounded by challenging terrain, and complex airspace that limit operations at peak hours for inbound and outbound traffic.
Zhangjiajie Airport deputy general manager Duan Yanbing said that Zhangjiajie has some of southern China's highest levels of tourism, so most of the air traffic is concentrated during peak hours in the early morning and evening.
"The separation of departure and arrival will ease our capacity issues greatly," Yanbing said.
The collaboration has also designed new RNP AR Engine Out Standard Instrument Departures that offer a fully-guided and protected track to be followed when the aircraft's engine malfunctions during takeoff and they act as a backup when ground navaids are out of service.