GBAS landing system launches at Melbourne

An aircraft landing system known as SmartPath has been activated at Melbourne Airport with the new installation being the second of its type in the southern hemisphere.

The SmartPath technology (otherwise known as a Ground Based Augmentation System, GBAS) is a precision approach and landing system allowing suitably equipped aircraft to land in low visibility conditions.

The technology improves the accuracy of positioning aircraft on approach to an airport and guides them along a predictable, precise landing path by correcting reporting from Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and transmitting data directly to an aircraft’s flight management system.

Airservices executive general manager Stephen Angus said the implementation of SmartPath at Melbourne Airport was part of Airservices continuing focus on technology and performance. SmartPath was first installed at Sydney Airport in 2014.

“The integration of SmartPath both at Sydney and Melbourne airports highlights Airservices commitment to embracing Global Navigational Satellite Systems (GNSS) technology which deliver higher performance services to our customers,” Angus said.

Melbourne airport chief Simon Gandy said he welcomed the move towards more effective and reliable forms of aircraft navigation utilising satellite-based technology.

“GBAS can provide a more resilient system for all runway approaches at Melbourne Airport, providing airlines and air travellers an enhanced level of service particularly when the airport is experiencing poor weather conditions,” Gandy said.

The benefits of GBAS at other locations have included more efficient descent and landings as well as less flight disruptions and improved airport capacity from accurately guided, simultaneous operations.

Airservices continues to work with the airline industry to encourage increased rates of installation of SmartPath-capable avionics.

A video of GBAS is available on Airservices YouTube channel, AirservicesTV.

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