skeyes promotes environmentally friendly approach procedures at Brussels Airport
May 12, 2022
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.