Thales today announced that its Microwave Landing System (MLS) aimed at increasing aircraft efficiency on airport approach has received UK approval for ground installations to Cat IIIb (low visibility conditions) operations at Heathrow airport.
Thales had already received European certification for its onboard aircraft installations to Cat IIIb (low visibility conditions) operations in November 2007. British Airways is the first airline worldwide to implement this new system and has been proving the system on its Heathrow Airbus Single Aisle fleet throughout 2008. The new system was fully operational from 25 March 2009 and is the result of intelligent partnerships and significant international joint development between Thales and major industries including Airbus, British Airways and the UK and French national airport and air transport authorities. 100 automatic landings, with Thaless Microwave Landing System (MLS) functioning on both the ground and onboard the aircraft, were required to gain official UK approval and certification for the system. British Airways has performed utomatic landings on both runways at Heathrow. This application of the MLS technology is a world-first and means that more flights will be able to land safely in difficult weather conditions, where air traffic is dense and where interference from buildings or objects including moving aircraft on taxiway around the approach to the airport is extensive. We are delighted with the latest certification, which has enabled British Airways to become the first airline to benefit from a system that will simultaneously increase capacity and safety, whilst also providing key environment enhancements, said Paul Kahn, Managing Director of Thaless Navigation & Airport Solutions business. These synergies have enabled us to develop a world-class solution in which we are confident other airlines and airports will see a valuable opportunity. The use of MLS technology will have a positive impact on the environment every minute gained on a flight represents a saving of the equivalent of 160Kg in CO emissions. With its transverse capabilities and systems of systems approach, Thales has the capacity to bring together both ground systems and onboard systems providing a global solution to meet the requirements of all users.