Atlantic Airways pioneers new navigation technology

Atlantic Airways, the national carrier of the Faroe Islands, will pioneer cutting-edge navigation technology to improve service reliability when it introduces the Airbus A319 to its fleet next year.
The airline chose Quovadis, the Airbus flight operations consultancy, to design the first European RNP-AR (Required Navigation Performance, Authorisation Required) approach procedures.
Chief Executive Magni Arge told airline presidents at the European Regions Airline Association Conference in Rome that the system would enable the Atlantic Airways Airbus A319 to make a safe approach in poor visibility at the airline’s Vágar, Faroe Islands, base, which can be affected by low cloud and turbulence in certain weather conditions.
The RNP-AR system developed by Quovadis, drawing upon the knowledge and experience of Atlantic Airways and its flight crews, will enable the aircraft to fly a non-linear approach path, avoiding terrain and known areas of turbulence and ensuring that the aircraft is already lined up with the runway when it reaches its decision height.
This is the altitude at which the crew must decide whether visual conditions are safe to complete the landing, or if the approach must be aborted.
The Quovadis procedures developed with Atlantic Airways take advantage of the Airbus’s very high positional accuracy, to follow a defined curved flight path around the obstacles, down to the runway threshold.
On board, the aircraft systems continuously monitor the aircraft position’s accuracy, while flying the RNP procedures.
Arge said: “The remote location of the Faroe Islands, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we have been recognised as the world’s favourite unspoiled islands*, but on the other hand, in adverse weather conditions our nearest diversionary airports are in Iceland, Norway and Scotland and this has major implications for both our operational costs and customer convenience.
“Developing RNP-AR with Quovadis means that we will be able to improve our reliability by enabling operations in more marginal weather conditions. It will also help our aircraft to avoid known areas of turbulence that can occur in some wind directions, thereby improving passenger comfort.
“RNP-AR will also further the work we have been doing at Atlantic Airways to improve our carbon footprint by reducing our fuel burn.”
The introduction of the new A319 will follow the completion of work to extend Vágar’s short runway to 1,799 metres.
“Although RNP-AR has been successfully introduced in other locations, such as Alaska and New Zealand, we are very proud to be the first airline in Europe to make use of this latest technology, which we believe has the potential to open up further commercial opportunities across the continent.
“Having Quovadis work on these procedures with our team and colleagues from the Danish Transport Authority this year is the best way for us to prepare the arrival of the A319. Quovadis’s expertise in flight operations and in Performance Based Navigation is a perfect fit with our needs,” said Mr Arge.
Paul-Franck Bijou, CEO of Quovadis, added: “Atlantic Airways decided to implement the most advanced technology to serve the interests of its operations best and to take full advantage of its Airbus aircraft’s capabilities. Quovadis is very glad to support this highly-qualified Atlantic Airways team.”