French airport uses satellite landing aid

French airport uses satellite landing aid

Published: May 10, 2011 at 9:30 PM

PARIS, May 10 (UPI) — An airport in southern France has become Europe’s first to guide aircraft in for landing using highly accurate satellite navigation signals, officials said.

Pau Pyrenees Airport is the first to utilize the new EGNOS Safety-of-Life Service, a European Space Agency release said Tuesday.

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System combines geostationary satellites with a network of ground stations to sharpen the accuracy and integrity of GPS signals across Europe, the release said.

The EGNOS system was officially made available March 2 for the safety-critical task of providing vertical guidance to aircraft on final approach.

Clermont-Ferrand Airport in central France is set to start using EGNOS, as is Marseilles Airport and Le Bourget in Paris.

“Before a suitably equipped aircraft can perform EGNOS-based approaches to any runway, a dedicated approach procedure has to be published,” said Benoit Roturier of France’s Directorate General for Civil Aviation.

“We aim to publish as many procedures as we can. By 2020, all of France’s approximately 100 airports should be EGNOS-capable.

“From the point of view of navigation strategy we see many benefits, notably improving safety on smaller runways, where no vertically guided approach is available,” he said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc.
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