Brazil is planning to implement the country’s first Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight procedures, following completion of validation flight by low-cost airline GOL.
Developed by Brazil’s air navigation service provider DECEA with technical support from GE, the procedures are expected to enhance access and capacity at Santos Dumont Airport, while cutting fuel consumption and carbon emissions for approved airlines.
GOL is planning to start flying the procedures for its fleet of Boeing 737s in the upcoming months, following the approval for RNP operations.
GE PBN Services general manager Giovanni Spitale said the implementation will assist the country in streamlining its air traffic management system, as it prepares to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
"GE’s PBN experts supported the Brazilian stakeholders on the design, validation and deployment of the procedures and on GOL’s RNP operational approval," Spitale said.
DECEA’s new procedure, featuring a continuous decent arrival (CDA), will reduce noise, operate minima and improve capacity at the Santos Dumont region, which has mountainous areas and complex airspace when arriving and departing the airport.
GOL technical vice president Adalberto Bogsan said that when using RNP AR the pilot can perform a precise and constant trajectory, reducing the minimum decision height.
"This provides better visualisation of the runway, assuring a more safe and comfortable landing," Bogsan added.
RNP procedures are expected to eliminate non-precision approaches and reduce the risk with controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) near the airport.
The procedures will enhance access to the airport by lowering the operating ceiling from 1,500ft to 300ft, which will further reduce the danger of missed approaches in poor weather conditions.
According to the DECEA, the procedures will not interfere with existing air traffic around Santos Dumont Airport and will enhance air traffic flow management and capacity.
Aircraft will utilise performance-based navigation (PBN) technology to fly precisely-defined flight paths, without depending on ground-based radio-navigation signals.
RNP procedures will also reduce the aircraft’s en-routed flying distance and cut fuel burn, exhaust emissions and noise pollution in communities near airports.
The technology is further expected to help air traffic controllers to reduce flight delays and reduce air traffic congestion.