Utilising modern navigational capabilities to reduce fuel, noise and carbon emissions is a win-win situation for the airlines, the airport vicinity and the climate. Avinor and partners achieve this with a new approach system at Norway’s busiest airport.
Oslo Airport implemented a sequencing tool for arriving aircraft called the ‘point merge’ system in April 2011 to increase airspace capacity, enhance safety and improve environmental performance. Introducing point merge means that aircraft arrival sequencing takes place in the systems pre-determined arcs. This avoids conflicts with departing traffic and also allows continuous descent approaches from further out.
Traffic capacity turned out to be less than expected when the point merge system at Oslo was first put in place. This provided an opportunity to make adjustments to reflect demand in the short term and to address initial underperformance on carbon emissions. The Harmonisation of Oslo Procedures and the Environment project was established in 2011 for this purpose.
The first decision the team made was to shrink the point merge arc sizes and move the merge points closer to the airport. Then they looked at the potential of performance-based navigation as an environmental tool, supplementing the point merge system when traffic permits and potentially reducing the effects of noise and carbon emissions. Curved landing approach is an element within performance-based navigation that reduces CO2 and improves operations in challenging terrain. This is enabled by satellites and modern aircraft navigational capabilities and offers the opportunity to make flight tracks shorter and more precise.
These procedures have been successfully tested and will be implemented as a supplement to conventional approaches at Oslo. In addition, the experience provides a useful benchmark for implementing this type of procedure at other Avinor airports in Norway.