The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) Safety of Life (SoL) Service is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Since it was declared operational in March 2011, the EGNOS SoL Service has been supporting civil aviation by enabling approaches down to LPV (Localiser Performance with Vertical guidance) minima at airports across Europe.
The EGNOS SoL Service consists of timing and positioning signals intended for transport applications in domains where lives could be endangered if the performance of the navigation system is degraded below specific accuracy limits. The SoL service is based on integrity data provided through the EGNOS satellite signals.
With over 700 EGNOS-based procedures at 367 airports and helipads, the EGNOS services increase safety, accessibility and efficiency for operators and pilots approaching airport and helipads in Europe. More accessible airports equal more commercial opportunities for airlines and new flight routes at regional and international level, with minimum costs for ground infrastructure and its maintenance.
The aviation sector has developed the certification scheme for EGNOS services, as well as the approval process for avionics and approach operations needed to use the SoL Service. Organisations implementing EGNOS-based procedures include air navigation service providers (ANSP), aerodrome operators and rotorcraft operators. However, the SoL Service is also intended to support applications in a wide range of other domains such as maritime, rail and road.
Significant environmental impact
“Since its launch in 2011, the EGNOS Safety of Life Service has been making the aviation sector safer and more efficient for European operators. Apart from the increased safety, it has made remote airports more accessible and is helping to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of aviation. As uptake increases, these benefits will be increasingly felt in other safety-critical sectors also, such as maritime or rail” said GSA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa.
The most obvious environmental impact of aviation is CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. With the aim of contributing to a “clean sky”, a methodology has been defined for air operators to calculate the reduction of CO2 emissions thanks to EGNOS-enabled LPV approaches.
Two main sources of fuel savings have been identified, the first being related to the airport approach. Today, many airports require airplanes to make their approach step by step, levelling off at each stage and thus burning more fuel. EGNOS enables smooth and continuous glide path approaches that are more fuel efficient.
The second is the avoidance of go-arounds due to poor visibility (aborted landings) in EGNOS capable airports thanks to the lower decision height, down to 200 feet or 60 meters, for pilots to evaluate if the visibility is good enough to continue the landing process. Minimizing diversions equals less fuel consumption, a win-win solution for both, the environment and the airlines. By 2025, 80,000 flight delays and 20,000 diversions will be avoided across Europe thanks to the contribution of EGNOS to the landing procedure of EGNOS-equipped airports.
Navigation operations based on the EGNOS SoL Service may require specific authorisation issued by the relevant authority. In the EU, the requirements governing the implementation of an EGNOS-based procedure are set down in the Single European Sky (SES) Regulation, and all related EU regulatory provisions applicable to the implementation of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) operations.