Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Not Freight Related but Automatic Navigation has Implications for Cargo Flights

New Technology May Enhance Safety Reaching Remote Airstrips
Shipping News Feature

US - INDONESIA – Although not strictly freight related the current cooperation between aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing and Lion Air, primarily a passenger rather than cargo carrier, may have greater implications for the carriage of goods than people in years to come. Between them the two are pioneering the use of precision navigation technology in South Asia with the introduction of Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight operations. RNP enables airplanes, using global positioning systems, to fly precisely predefined flight paths without reliance on ground-based navigation stations.

Lion Air, together with Boeing and the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation, successfully performed validation flights to test tailor-made RNP Authorization Required (RNP AR) procedures at two terrain-challenged airports, Ambon and Manado, Indonesia, just the type of sites which subject commercial cargo pilots to the most dangerous, and sometimes fatal, conditions in many far flung parts of the globe.

Lion Air is employing the most advanced version of RNP (RNP Authorization Required) that navigates the world's most challenging terrain. RNP helps reduce airplane flight miles and provides for idle powered descents that save fuel, reduce emissions and noise and enhance safety.

Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen, designed, charted, and helped certify the instrument flight procedures, while Boeing Flight Services led the overall project, conducted an RNP Safety Assessment, and trained Lion Air's leadership, dispatchers and flight crews. Boeing worked with Indonesia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation through the construction of a national regulatory framework necessary to fully certify the airline for RNP operations under ICAO guidelines.

Lion Air is the launch customer for the Boeing 737-900ER and the largest customer and operator of the Boeing 737-900ER in the world. The airline took delivery of its 50th Boeing Next-Generation in September and operates an extensive route network in Indonesia with almost 500 daily flights across 71 destinations. Lion Air has 49 Boeing 737-900ERs in its fleet today, with an additional 178 slated for delivery.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation Indonesia intends to implement RNP at other airports in the country. Captain Ertata Lananggalih, Managing Director of Lion Air commented:

"We look forward to seeing these procedures fully implemented so we can realize the substantial economic and safety benefits provided by this program."