SYDNEY, 14 Feb. 2013. Airservices Australia officials selected Honeywell's (NYSE:HON) SmartPath as the country's first Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) to improve operational efficiency and decrease air traffic noise at Sydney Airport.
GBAS augments Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), making them accurate and safe enough to use during aircraft approaches and landings at airports experiencing high traffic volumes. It is designed to overcome the limitations of traditional Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), a ground-based instrument approach system reliant on radio signals and lighting.
Honeywell's SmartPath is reportedly the only certified GBAS; it has certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration and Germany's BAF.
Sydney Airport, a major international hub for the Australian and Asian region, served a record 36.9 million passengers in 2012, representing growth of 3.6 percent over the previous year.
SmartPath selection for Sydney stems from a partnership between the airport, Airservices, Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), and Qantas Airways, which provided GNSS landing system (GLS)-equipped A380 and B737 aircraft for system testing.
Airservices, Sydney Airport, and Qantas will complete operational testing and evaluation of SmartPath by the end of Q1 2013 before becoming commercially operational, pending certification by CASA.
"The rapid rate of passenger growth seen at Sydney Airport requires a greater level of precision for approaching aircraft,” says Mike Underwood, director of business development, Honeywell Aerospace. “Installing SmartPath will help meet demand, drive efficiency and ensure that the airport is better equipped to service airlines, fleets and passengers now and in the future. SmartPath complements the existing performance-based navigation capabilities of today's aircraft, further increasing fuel savings and lowering emissions."
SmartPath supports up to 26 precision approaches for aircraft across up to four runways simultaneously, eliminating the need for multiple ILS systems at airports with several runways.
SmartPath reduces tarmac congestion and increases airport throughput by mitigating the need for taxiing aircraft to "short-hold." According to a spokesperson, SmartPath reduces maintenance and can yield annual maintenance savings of up to $400,000 over ILS.
As well as the recent completion of SmartPath at Bremen, Germany, the system went live at Newark Liberty International in New Jersey, in Sept. 2012. SmartPath systems are also being installed at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Malaga, Spain; Memphis, Tenn.; and Houston, Texas. Airservices is commencing work on extending the country's GBAS network to Melbourne International Airport.