The Airbus ProSky-led CANARIAS project marks key milestone in effort to improve two Canary Islands airports’ approach procedures

The first successful flight in Spain using Required Navigation Performance – Authorization Required (RNP AR) procedures has been completed as part of a project led by Airbus ProSky – which is Airbus’ Air Traffic Management subsidiary – and Spanish air traffic services provider AENA.

19 May 2014 Feature story

This project – called CANARIAS (CO2 and Noise Approach Reduction for International Aviation Sustainability) – was initiated in November 2012 to demonstrate the value of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) approaches in complex airspace with flight trials at two Canary Islands airports in Spain: Lanzarote and La Palma. 

CANARIAS’ primary objective is to implement environmentally-friendly approaches that result in track-mile savings for the airports, along with reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Additionally, the project facilitates replacement of Lanzarote Runway 21’s circle-to-land procedure with a fully-managed and stabilized approach.

This month’s successful RNP AR flight trial in Spain, which utilised Lanzarote Runway 21, was performed in close coordination with local air traffic control operators – with contributions from Airbus ProSky, AENA, Thomas Cook Airlines, Novair and Norwegian Airlines. 

Paul-Franck Bijou, Airbus Prosky CEO, said: “The first flight trial was a full success, with AENA members and flight crew appreciating the approach as a major step towards Performance Based Navigation in Spain that provides higher accessibility and efficiency for Lanzarote airport, while being environmentally friendly and supporting flight safety by providing highly stabilized approaches.”

“I watched directly on the radar screen and the descent was perfect, continuous, without steps until touchdown,” added an air traffic controller from the approach centre. “Air traffic controllers are really amazed when they experience their first live trial, seeing the final curved leg, the accuracy overflying the line, the low level of communications needed, etc.”

Within context of the CANARIAS project, a total 100 trials will be performed through August 2014 to demonstrate daily improvements in airspace operations, airport access and noise emission reduction. The flight trials phase will ease the procedure publication by AENA, as well as pave the way for more PBN procedures at various Spanish airports. 

CANARIAS is proceeding in the scope of the European Union’s Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme, under the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative.