Europe Clears First Airline SatNav Operation

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Published: July 10, 2012

Europe is rolling out operational service of its satellite-based aircraft navigation system EGNOS, an official with Britain’s largest air traffic control agency said on Monday.

An 18-passenger aircraft serving the island of Alderney, located off the French coast of Normandy, is the first to be outfitted and certified to use the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, or EGNOS.

The system, which makes use of GPS signals to guide aircraft to the runway, is particularly useful when visibility is limited.

“We’re now at the point where we’re beginning to land aircraft from space from satellite navigation,” Ken Ashton, head of navigation architecture at NATS, said during a briefing at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Similar systems are being developed in the United States, Japan, India and Russia.

So far, just one of Aurigny Air Services’ Trislander planes has been outfitted and certified to use the EGNOS system.

“This is the first certified operation in Europe for satellite navigation approaches to land,” Ashton said.

Aurigny Air Services, which provides the only commercial flight services to Alderney, plans to upgrade the rest of its fleet.

Next to sign up are Scotland’s Loganair and Hebridean and the UK’s Skybus.

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