BLUEGNSS accelerates 3D GNSS approach implementation

The GSA-funded BLUEGNSS project (Promoting EGNSS Operational Adoption in BLUEMED) was launched in 2016 with the aim of promoting the adoption of European GNSS in the BLUEMED Functional Airspace Block. Preliminary results, presented at the World ATM Congress in Madrid on March 6, show significant gains in safety and airport accessibility in the target countries.

To achieve its overarching goal of promoting EGNSS adoption, the BLUEGNSS project’s primary objective is to harmonise the implementation of PBN approach operations among the BLUE MED FAB states - Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Italy - using EGNSS (EGNOS and Galileo). With this in mind, the project focuses on three main streams: GNSS procedures design and validation; GNSS training; and GNSS monitoring.

Good results

BLUEGNSS is designing 3D GNSS procedures, known as RNP approach (Required Navigation Performance), for 11 selected airports (4 in Greece, 4 in Italy, 2 in Cyprus and 1 in Malta) to increase their accessibility and safety. In this way, the project supports BLUE MED countries in accelerating GNSS 3D approaches in view of the European PBN Implementing Rule, which is under discussion and which proposes implementation of 3D GNSS approaches by 2024, either as the primary approach or as a back-up for precision approaches.

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The project got off to a good start in 2018 with the successful validation in January of 3 new GNSS procedures for Lamezia, Parma and Cuneo airports in Italy. This was followed by validations for Larnaca and Paphos in Cyprus in March. The GNSS approaches in Cyprus were successfully validated despite bad weather, further demonstrating the safety benefits of GNSS vertical guidance in adverse weather conditions. To date, 14 GNSS procedures have been designed and validated by the BLUEGNSS project. The last remaining one, Bolzano, is the most challenging due to its orography and the need to test RNP Authorization Required procedures, which is the first time Italy has had to deal with this.

Supporting implementation

The project is also providing training, to ensure that airspace procedure designers are able to deal with the design of RNP approach procedures and related minima. Specific workshops were organised to share and discuss the design principles among design task leaders and project members. In 2016, training was provided on Advanced Procedures for Air Navigation Services, Operations (PANS OPS) design and in 2017 there have been air traffic controller (ATCO) and non-ATCO training courses for instructors, all of which have been delivered by the certified ENAV Academy.

In addition, the project recognises GNSS performance monitoring as one of the main enablers for the implementation and acceptance of the new RNP APCH operations, paving the way for Galileo acceptance in aviation. With this in mind, the project is adopting a regional and multi-source approach to monitoring through the deployment of an innovative dedicated network devoted not only to standard GNSS performance assessment, but also to interference assessment and reporting, and GNSS data recording.

The project’s GNSS monitoring solution is the first to be fully ICAO compliant, it is modular and interoperable with other systems, and cost-benefit analyses at regional level have shown positive results. The system automatically generates daily and monthly monitoring reports, which are available in the restricted area of the BLUEMED portal

Speaking at the World ATM Congress in Madrid on March 6, BLUEGNSS Project Coordinator Patrizio Vanni was upbeat about the project results achieved so far. “The project is in good health and close to completion, almost all of the challenges have been successfully completed,” Vanni said.


BLUEGNSS is the first time in Europe that a RNP approach implementation project has been coordinated at FAB level. One of the advantages of this approach is that countries and air navigation service providers with limited experience in RNP approach operational implementation can benefit from intra-FAB cross-fertilization.

BLUEGNSS is one of the Horizon 2020-Galileo-2015-1 projects selected for co-financing by the GSA. The consortium, led by ENAV, is composed of the BLUE MED FAB ANSP partners - DCAC, HCAA and MATS - and IDS (Ingegneria dei Sistemi) which is the only industrial partner. Launched in January 2016, the project is scheduled to last 30 months.

For more information, check the project website or the project page on the GSA site.

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