Leading members of the world aviation community have signed a declaration calling for the implementation of performance-based navigation (PBN), a navigation concept designed to improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of the global air transport system.

PBN sets clear performance requirements for any given flight operation. It involves a major shift from conventional ground-based navigation aids and procedures to satellite-based navigation aids and area navigation procedures.

The system allows for shorter, more direct routes between two given points, as well as efficient take-offs and landings. This reduces fuel burn, airport and airspace congestion, and aircraft emissions.

The declaration calls upon all leaders of the civil aviation community to actively implement PBN in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) provisions. It also reaffirms that global cooperation is essential to the success of the undertaking.

Speaking on behalf of the group, International Civil Aviation Organisation council president Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez said that performance-based navigation is vital to provide the most efficient air transport system possible.

“The enormous benefits of PBN where recognised by the 36th Session of the ICAO Assembly in 2007 when it urged all member states of the organization to have PBN implementation plans ready by 2009,” Gonzalez said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that shorter PBN routes could cut CO2 emissions by 13 million tonnes per year if globally implemented.

Qantas and AirServices Australia have already agreed to develop PBN arrival procedures for Australian airports. The United States’ Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and the European SESAR future air navigation systems are also based upon the application of PBN and the ICAO.

By Daniel Garrun