skeyes promotes environmentally friendly approach procedures at Brussels Airport

The sooner a pilot can estimate the route to his landing runway, the better he can determine the ideal landing trajectory to consume as little energy as possible. Air traffic controllers have procedures that significantly increase the predictability of approach routes for pilots. skeyes will encourage airlines to use those procedures as much as possible.


Today, the Instrument Landing System (ILS) is the most common system for aircraft landings at Brussels Airport. With this procedure, air traffic controllers position aircraft to the axis of the runway. This is done in function of the air traffic conditions. So sometimes the route is shorter, sometimes longer. As a result, the pilots do not always have a good view of the landing route to be followed during the approach procedure, which prevents them from optimising the approach profile.

Another procedure is the Required Navigation Performance (RNP). During such an approach, air traffic controllers communicate the route to be followed by means of already published routes and waypoints. This provides the pilot with clarity on the route to be followed much earlier during the approach and allows him to optimise his approach profile. If they can maintain a descending line that is as constant as possible (Continuous Descent Operations or green landings), the aircraft will consume less energy.

At present, airlines still more often opt for landings via the ILS, although skeyes also offers the RNP procedure. skeyes will encourage airlines and pilots in the coming months to opt for the RNP procedure as much as possible.



Everyone wins with RNP procedures. Pilots can better estimate their landing trajectory and the speed they need to maintain. By descending more steadily, an aircraft consumes less fuel. These savings provide airlines with a major economic advantage, especially in times when fuel prices are skyrocketing.

Energy-efficient landings are also much more environmentally friendly: less CO2 is emitted, which improves air quality, and the aircraft also makes much less noise if it can descend in a single line instead of in steps, which has a positive impact on the environment and the people living near the airport.


Testing and evaluating

From 16 May to 16 September, skeyes will offer all pilots the RNP procedure as their first option between 11 pm and 6 am on runways 25R and 25L of Brussels Airport. Of course, weather conditions and air traffic at and around the airport must allow for this procedure.

After this period, an evaluation will be performed in which the number of RNP's used and the effects in terms of kilometres flown, fuel consumption, emission of greenhouse gases (airlines) and noise pollution (Brussels Airport) will be examined.


Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes: “This project is one of the initiatives within the framework of the Collaborative Environmental Management at Brussels Airport. Together with the airport operator and other airport partners, we are looking for ways to reduce the ecological footprint of our activities. Brussels Airlines, TUI, Ryanair and DHL in particular have committed to this project, but we will offer the RNP procedures to all airlines. Together with them and Brussels Airport we will evaluate the results afterwards.”


Minister of Mobility Georges Gilkinet provided an enveloppe of € 4,75 million for various environmental initiatives in the aviation sector, a.o. developing or improving operational procedures that enhance the sustainability of air traffic. This initiative is part of that plan.


Audrey Dorigo

Head of Communications, skeyes


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About skeyes

skeyes ensures the safety and efficiency of air traffic in Belgium 24/7. The skeyes air traffic controllers manage over 3,000 aircraft every day, which makes up over a million flight movements per year. The autonomous public company is active at the heart of Europe, in one of the busiest and most complex sections of airspace of the continent. skeyes is active at Brussels Airport and at the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Kortrijk, Liège and Ostend. Thanks to its CANAC 2 control centre skeyes manages the flight movements above Belgium and a part of Luxembourg up to an altitude of 7,500 metres (*). The company relies on its nearly 900 experienced staff members who are at the service of their customers: airline companies, airports, the aviation sector and the authorities. skeyes also develops innovating services regarding drones and contributes to a sustainable future of the aviation sector, among other things with respect to the environment.

skeyes is a member of FABEC, a joint airspace block (Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland) with the aim of improving air navigation efficiency in the heart of Europe in the framework of the Single European Sky.

(*) The upper airspace of the Benelux countries and North West Germany is managed jointly with the EUROCONTROL centre in Maastricht. 


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