Honeywell Aerospace’s SmartPath Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS), which reduces weather-related delays, lowers air traffic noise, improves flight efficiency and increases airport capacity simultaneously, has been selected by the U.K. Department for International Development for St Helena’s airport, due to open in 2016.
A contract for construction of the island’s new airport was signed in November 2011, and the Honeywell SmartPath GBAS will be used to augment navigational aids to help minimize delays and diversions and maximize landing safety and efficiency.
SmartPath is the world’s only U. S. Federal Aviation Administration-certified GBAS, a technology that augments Global Positioning System (GPS) signals to make them suitable for precision approach and landing. It overcomes many of the limitations of Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) traditionally used by airports to guide aircraft as they approach the runway, including susceptibility to signal interference from weather, other aircraft and rugged terrain. Honeywell’s system also increases operational efficiency, enabling aircraft to fly either complex or straight-in approaches and helping to reduce overall fuel burn and unnecessary flight delays.
“By installing Honeywell’s SmartPath GBAS at St Helena’s airport, we are taking the opportunity to use one of the industry’s most advanced technologies to help beat the challenge of delays and improve landing assurance,” said Janet Lawrence, director of St Helena’s Airport Project. “SmartPath will deliver a better passenger experience, improve flight operations, lower noise at ground level, and ultimately help to transform everyday access to St Helena.”
About the St Helena Airport Project
The island of St Helena, an overseas territory of the U.K., currently has no airport and is accessible only by ship. Critical to the success of the new airport will be air traffic control’s ability to land aircraft in the challenging weather conditions the island experiences. Given the isolation of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean, diversions due to weather could be extremely costly in terms of additional fuel burn. Because SmartPath uses a digital broadcast, GPS Landing System-equipped aircraft flying into St Helena will be able to fly a greater range of approaches and land in more challenging weather conditions than they otherwise could, reducing the need to divert.
“Our work with the St Helena Airport Project illustrates the flexibility of SmartPath in supporting operations at all types of airports, from those handling a few flights a week to the world’s largest international hubs,” said Pat Reines, senior product manager, SmartPath, Honeywell Aerospace. “By using GBAS, aircraft approaching St Helena will have a higher assurance of a safe landing in all weather conditions around the island’s varied terrain, which is critical considering the distances of more than 700 miles to the nearest possible emergency diversion and 1,100 miles to the African mainland.”
Installation of the SmartPath system, which will supplement an ILS localizer at the new airport, is planned for later in 2014.
Other SmartPath Worldwide News
As well as the recent contract award to SmartPath at Frankfurt International Airport, Germany, and delivery of the system to India’s Chennai International Airport, Honeywell’s system is now installed at Sydney International Airport, Australia. Australia’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Airservices Australia has had GBAS operations added to its ANSP Operating Certificate. As a result, Airservices Australia is expecting the SmartPath GBAS at Sydney International Airport to go live without restriction in Q2 2014 pending the re-release of runway approaches and operator approvals. The addition of GBAS to its Operating Certificate allows Airservices Australia to commence network expansion to other airports where the capability meets aviation customer and airport operator needs.
A pioneer in GBAS technology, Honeywell has demonstrated the benefits of the system at more than 15 airports around the world. Other airports to have selected the system include Houston, Texas; and Newark, New Jersey, in the U.S., as well as Bremen, Germany; Malaga, Spain; and Zurich, Switzerland, in Europe.