France: European Commission (EC) certified European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) as suitable for use in controlling aircraft, paving the way for the roll-out of new air traffic control techniques that promise to curb emissions across the bloc.
The system had previously been used for personal navigation devices and precision farming operations. But it will now be used to allow planes to better co-ordinate their positions using a system involving three geostationary satellites, 40 positioning stations and four control centres.
Antonio Tajani, Vice-president, EC, said the system would allow airlines to cut carbon emissions significantly by enabling aircraft to make more precise approaches and calculate routes that mean they use less fuel and spend a shorter time in the air. Improved flight routes and ‘curved approach’ procedures are also likely to reduce noise levels as planes can commence their descent from closer to the runway.
The system currently covers most of the European states and is likely to be extended across Africa and Asia. North America already has a GPS-based system in place called Required Navigation Performance (RNP) that has been pioneered by Southwest Airlines and used to deliver new routes that have enhanced fuel efficiency.
In related industry news, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has today warned that the EU’s plans to bring airlines into its emissions trading scheme from 2012 could impact carriers’ credit ratings.
A report titled, Airline Carbon Costs Take Off As EU Emissions Regulations Reach For The Skies, predicts the industry will grow faster than it can improve fuel efficiency, forcing airlines to buy around EUR 1.125 billion worth of permits from other sectors to cover their emissions liabilities.