EGNOS to get bigger footprint in eastern Europe

To help eastern European countries implement EGNOS-based LPV procedures, the GSA-funded BEYOND project organised an array of workshops and training aimed at building the region’s European GNSS capacity.

There are currently over 430 EGNOS-enabled procedures available at Launched in 2015, BEYOND supports the competitiveness of EU industry by developing new market opportunities in eastern European and Euromed countries.more than 300 different European airports – with an additional 500 procedures planned. Many of these planned procedures are set to happen in eastern European countries, including the Balkans. Before they can take full advantage of the many benefits that the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) provides, they first need to have the capacity to implement such procedures. And this is where the Horizon 2020 funded BEYOND project comes in.

Launched in 2015, BEYOND supports the competitiveness of EU industry by developing new market opportunities in eastern European and Euromed countries. “These countries represent an important market for European GNSS,” says Carmen Aguilera, GSA Market Development Officer in charge of the Aviation segment-. “In order to take advantage of this potential, it is essential that we work to increase the visibility of EGNOS and assist with its implementation – especially as it pertains to aviation.”

The region is characterised by an abundance of often remote small and regional airports, many of which cannot afford the high cost of installing and maintaining ground-based instrument landing systems (ILS). EGNOS-enabled localiser performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches provide a suitable alternative to ILS, all the while making these airports more accessible and safer. EGNOS works by using geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations to receive, analyse and augment GPS signals, making them suitable for such safety-critical applications as aircraft landings. As a result, the EGNOS LPV 200 service provides vertical guidance that enables reaching a decision height of as low as 200 feet – a capability similar to what is provided by ground-based navigational aids, but without the steep financial burden of installing, maintaining and calibrating ground equipment.

A full view of the implementation process

To pave the way for implementing EGNOS-based procedures across eastern Europe and the Euromed countries, the BEYOND project worked directly with air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) from Hungary, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania – among others. Training, technical workshops and flight trials were provided by the European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP), in coordination with GMV, INECO and ENAV.

The aim of these initiatives was to provide the ANSPs and CAAs with a comprehensive overview of the subject, from pre-implementation to operation. “Instead of providing itemised training on a specific component of the process, the BEYOND workshops delivered a full view of the LPV procedure implementation process,” says Peter Lubrani, Beyond project coordinator.

These capacity-building efforts have resulted in achieving several important milestones, including:

  • each ANSP developed a precision-based navigation (PBN) strategy, which will serve as the roadmap toward implementation;
  • flight trials occurred at Debrecen (Hungary) Airport, with additional trials planned at Tirana (Albania) Airport;
  • preliminary LPV procedures designed for four airports  – Debrecen, Chisinau (Moldova), Podgorica (Montenegro) and Tirana (Albania);
  • research on detecting GNSS interference was launched.

“The BEYOND exercises and workshops provided practical training on implementing EGNOS, training that will be put into action as we move toward improving PBN and implementing EGNOS in Montenegro,” says CAA Montenegro.

As this feeling was shared by all involved, one can expect to soon see some new dots added to the EGNOS map.

The BEYOND Final User Forum is scheduled for June 14th-15th 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. More information can be found here.

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