ENAIRE, the national air navigation service provider, is improving the operability of the Córdoba Airport by implementing new departure, arrival and approach procedures that will go into service on 15 June, allowing commercial flights to be scheduled at the airport.

The implementation of the new instrument flight manoeuvres made possible by ENAIRE, part of a joint project with Aena, which is the airport manager, guarantees on the one hand the availability of commercial traffic operations and, on the other, it enhances the efficiency of operations, as well as accessibility to the Córdoba Airport.

At present, the Córdoba Airport only allows traffic to operate under visual flight rules, which makes flight planning by commercial airlines not possible, with operations at the airport being highly dependent on the prevailing weather conditions. The implementation of the new instrument flight procedures by ENAIRE allows for the option of commercial traffic operations, and makes for safer and more consistent operations in adverse weather conditions.

New departures and arrivals are being implemented for RWY 03 and 21 at the airport based on the RNAV 1 specification, along with approaches based on satellite navigation and, in order to offer alternative manoeuvres, conventional approach manoeuvres have also been implemented that rely on land-based navaids, in this case the Córdoba VOR/DME.

For the procedures based on the use of satellite navigation, aircraft need to be properly equipped and their crews trained on their use.

The most advanced technologies

The project to implement new instrument procedures at the Córdoba Airport relies on the most advanced airspace design technologies and complies with European regulatory requirements.

This has been a complex project to implement due to various factors. For one, it required taking into account the geographic location of the airport, in particular its proximity to the city of Córdoba, which significantly increased the complexity of the project from an environmental point of view. The work to design the new manoeuvres was very detailed in order to avoid, as far as possible, flying over the city of Córdoba and the nearby towns, thereby making the project viable from an environmental point of view.

In addition to the environmental complexity, this project required special coordination with the Ministry of Defence due to the proximity of the Cerro Muriano firing range, as well as with the air traffic provider at the Tower of Córdoba, where ENAIRE played a key role in this inter-ministerial coordination.

Moreover, in order to allow operations using these new manoeuvres, ENAIRE prepared, together with the air traffic service provider in the Córdoba tower, the necessary safety study, which was duly processed with the National Aviation Safety Agency (AESA), as well as the relevant environmental report.

Satellite procedures in Spain

The main purpose of the project is to implement new instrument procedures in the airspace of the Córdoba airport, which will allow the airport to grow through the operation of commercial flights. The recent implementation of the new procedures at the Córdoba Airport is in addition to those already in place at the airports of Reus, Lleida-Alguaire, Girona-Costa Brava, Castellón, Josep Taradellas Barcelona-El Prat, Jerez, Seve Ballesteros - Santander, Almería, Valencia, Fuerteventura, Palma, Lanzarote, Vigo, A Coruña, San Sebastián and others as part of ENAIRE's Plan to Implement Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) Procedures. In addition, the Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport has a satellite-based ground augmentation system called GBAS, and procedures for precision instrument operations based on this system.

These new approach procedures based on satellite navigation will help continue to move forward in meeting the requirements of the Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) Implementation Plan, laid out in ENAIRE's 2025 Flight Plan. It also assists in complying with European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1048, the aim of which is to improve the efficiency of air traffic management at the European level by implementing performance-based navigation (PBN).

The use of the European EGNOS satellite navigation system, which is owned by the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), is part of the service agreement already in place between ENAIRE and the ESSP, the company that operates the EGNOS system. ESSP is an air navigation provider supervised by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and owned by ENAIRE, together with air navigation providers from Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Through this effort, ENAIRE is making available to users of the Córdoba Airport satellite-based arrivals, departures and approaches, along with conventional approaches, all of which improve the safety and consistency of operations at the airport.