EGNOS procedures were launched at Vilnius Airport in Lithuania on 18th June 2020 as part of the EGNOS Lithuania project. Funded under the European GNSS Agency’s (GSA) Aviation Grant Programme, EGNOS Lithuania aims to implement 5 LPV approach procedures at the three biggest airports in Lithuania: Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga.
The launch at Vilnius Airport is the very first EGNOS implementation in Lithuania, and the procedures at Kaunas and Palanga have already been designed and are expected to be operational by the end of the year. EGNOS implementation at the airports is expected to reduce the airports’ spending on navigation infrastructure and increase safety and operational efficiency.
Growing number of airports
“I am happy to announce, that since June 2020, the EGNOS-enabled RNP precision approach procedure LPV is operational at Vilnius International Airport. We thank the European GNSS Agency for supporting the EGNOS Lithuania project and look forward to seeing LPV-equipped aircraft using the benefits of LPV application at Vilnius Airport,” said Lithuanian Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications Gytis Mažeika, adding: “Kaunas and Palanga airports will appear on the EGNOS operational map by January 2021 at the latest.”
The launch followed a period of close cooperation between the GSA and the Lithuanian stakeholders within the context of the EGNOS Lithuania project. “The first implementation of EGNOS procedures in Lithuania is a major success, both for the EGNOS programme and for the aviation community in the country. Vilnius has joined, and Kaunas and Palanga will soon join, the growing number of airports across Europe where EGNOS helps planes and helicopters land safely,” said GSA Acting Executive Director Pascal Claudel. “We hope that this successful launch will stimulate the operational use of EGNOS in Lithuania and generate interest in EGNOS among operators and airspace users throughout the Baltic region,” he said.
The EGNOS Lithuania project is run by ORO Navigacija, the Lithuanian Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP). “ORO Navigacija is proud to make an important step towards implementation of Commission Implementing Regulation 2018/1048 and appear on the EGNOS operational map. EGNOS-based RNP Approach SBAS (LPV) procedures are already valid in Vilnius International Airport, while two other TEN-T international airports – Kaunas (KUN) and Palanga (PLQ) shall still make the respective validations,” said Oro Navigacija Acting Director Marius Beliūnas.
“Introduction of LPV contributes to strengthening flight safety and enabling efficiency improvements, as many aircrafts flying to Lithuania have already been EGNOS equipped, or operators plan to do so in the nearest future,” he said.
A powerful tool
EGNOS is the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, a Space-Based Augmentation System (SBAS). It is a powerful tool for airports facing increasing congestion, and flight delays and diversions due to bad weather. As of the end of June 2020, 708 EGNOS-based procedures have been implemented at 367 airports and helipads in the EU.
EGNOS augments signals from navigation satellites to deliver enhanced vertical and horizontal precision, without the need for costly ground infrastructure. EGNOS makes airports more accessible, increasing air transport capacity and safety. It even benefits people on the ground, by enabling more optimised flight plans that reduce emissions and external noise levels.
The GSA set up its Aviation Grants Programme in 2014 to promote EGNOS operational implementation in aviation. So far, 44 projects have been awarded total investment of EUR 22 million. Thanks to the Aviation Grants Programme more than 150 aircraft will be operating with EGNOS in Europe and more than 130 EGNOS approach procedures have been designed at several European airports, increasing the safety and accessibility in the aviation sector.
The GSA is planning to launch another Call for Proposals in 2020 to foster EGNOS adoption in the European aviation, for more information see the EGNOS Grant Plan 2020.