AirAsia received approval to fly Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight paths in Malaysia, with support from GE Aviation.
The Malaysia Department of Civil Aviation Authority (DCA), the regulator and air navigation service provider, granted the nation’s first RNP operations approval November 28 following a successful RNP flight validation conducted at Penang October 18.
GE Aviation, AirAsia and the DCA have collaborated on the nation-wide flight path programme since 2012 to improve operational efficiency at 15 airports in Malaysia. To date, GE Aviation’s Flight Efficiency Services has delivered flight procedures for seven airports; Penang, Kuching, Langkawi, Johor Bahru, Miri, Sibu and Kota Bharu, with the remaining eight airports to follow.
“The RNP flight paths can save the airline up to 23 NM at Kuching Airport and 18 NM at Kota Bharu, compared to the standard terminal arrival,” said Giovanni Spitale, general manager of GE Aviation’s Flight Efficiency Services. “Some of the new flight procedures, including Langkawi, provide aircraft with an instrument approach procedure and vertical guidance to runways that previously had none.” Once the flight paths are in place at the 15 airports, AirAsia expects to save up to RM1 million a year from reduced fuel costs.
With regulatory approval, AirAsia has initiated the new flight procedures at Penang, where track mile savings can yield up to 12 nautical miles (NM) per arrival. AirAsia will expand RNP operations of its fleet of A320s to the other airports in the coming weeks.
Aireen Omar, chief executive officer of AirAsia Berhad said, “This is a remarkable achievement for AirAsia and we are proud to be the first airline in Malaysia to be granted the RNP-AR APCH Operations approval. We constantly innovate and do our best to contribute more to the country and elevate the aviation infrastructure. By achieving significant mile savings, we are able to save on fuel costs and this could be translated to more low fares for our guests.”
“We would like to thank the DCA, specifically its respective Flight Operations, Airworthiness and Air Traffic Control divisions and other relevant government agencies for recognizing AirAsia’s operational capability and giving us the approval and trust to operate RNP-AR APCH flight paths in Malaysia. Special thanks to our partner, GE Aviation for the technical support and expertise to make this a reality. Kudos to all AirAsia team members involved in this great undertaking, whose hard work marks another significant milestone for us,” she added.
Performance-based Navigation (PBN) technology allows pilots to use onboard technology to follow a precise track, independent of ground-based navigation beacons that limit where the aircraft can go. RNP procedures, an advanced form of PBN technology, can be designed to shorten the distance an aircraft has to fly en-route, and to reduce fuel burn, exhaust emissions and noise pollution in communities near airports. Because of RNP’s precision and reliability, the technology can help air traffic controllers reduce flight delays and alleviate air traffic congestion.
GE has a suite of service offerings that increase an aircraft’s overall operational efficiency and is harnessing the power of the Industrial Internet and using software and analytics to make its machines smarter and more efficient. GE is using data analytics to identify ways to reduce operating costs, increase aircraft utilization and improve the business of flight.