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Qatar Airways Flies New Navigational Approach into Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal

Aviation is a very interesting industry.  Aircraft contain some of the most advanced technology in the world.  Most of the new planes could quite literally land themselves in many cases.  Many aircraft now use fly-by-wire technology where the pilot uses a joystick that sends electronic commands to manipulate the plane’s control surfaces.

It is all absolutely amazing stuff, and a far cry from the wood and canvas Wright Flyer that started it all.  Yet with all of this new technology, most of the airways in the world are directed using decades old equipment.

VORs, TACANs, VORTACs, and even NDBs in some cases, are still used all over the world as radio navigation aids for these multi-million dollar jets.  Despite their age they still do an amazing job keeping the airways safe.  In tandem with air traffic controllers, they keep flying as the safest way to travel period.

Safety is of course at the top of the priority list, but creeping increasingly closer is money, and these old navigational aids don’t offer a whole lot to make flying more efficient.

Enter GPS.

GPS has been around for quite a while, and is already used in diverse ways in aviation.  However, it is not being used to its full capacity, and it is costing everyone money.

GPS has the ability to improve aircraft navigation in ways that will not only make flying more efficient, but make it safer for everyone involved.  Qatar Airways recently flew the first approach into Kathmandu’s airport in Nepal using a RNP-AR (Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required) approach in an Airbus A320.  (Airbus’s press release of the occasion can be found below.)

The unique mountainous terrain of the region has always required complex, difficult approaches that can challenge even the most seasoned pilot.  Using this new approach pilots are able to reduce their workload leading to a much safer, and more efficient approach.  The increased efficiency is what makes this approach so valuable for every single airport out there.

The airports in the New York/New Jersey region are not exactly troubled with terrain issues, but it is some of the busiest airspace in the world.  By using the increased accuracy that GPS provides, these airports can utilize their airspace more efficiently, and in turn more safely.

Implementing these procedures is not as simple as having everyone turn on their GPS, but it is imperative that the newly confirmed FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, do everything in his power to get these procedures in place immediately in order to further improve the safety of the industry, while at the same time providing some financial relief to the airlines.

Press Release
21 January 2013 A Qatar Airways-flown A320 has made this carrier the world’s first to operate an aircraft into the Nepalese capital’s Tribhuvan International Airport within the Himalayan mountain range using a new navigation approach.

The milestone flight took place with the Doha-based airline’s A320 performing an RNP-AR (Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required) approach to landing.  RNP-AR enables an aircraft to automatically fly accurate trajectories without relying on ground-based navigation aids, while also optimising airspace utilisation and reducing diversions in difficult weather conditions.

Located in Kathmandu, Tribhuvan International Airport has one of the world’s most complicated landing approaches due to surrounding challenging terrain at its location in the Himalayas.  Flying an RNP-AR approach considerably reduces pilots’ workload and allows them to take full benefit of the advanced navigation equipment installed in the Airbus A320 to easily circumnavigate difficult terrain.

Qatar Airways partnered with Quovadis, the Airbus-owned flight operations services company, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to design and implement the Kathmandu RNP-AR procedure.

Yannick Malinge, Airbus’ Senior Vice President and Chief Product Safety Officer, recognised Qatar Airways on the achievement.

“Airbus always promotes and supports initiatives contributing to improving safety. New technological capabilities like RNP allow aircraft to improve descent trajectory and reduce non-stabilized approaches,” Malinge explained. “Airbus would like to congratulate Qatar Airways and Nepal Authorities for the outstanding results achieved for this RNP-AR project in Kathmandu and we are delighted to have contributed to this major milestone.”

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said safety was the top priority for the airline. “We pride ourselves on adopting the latest technology across our fleet and operation to ensure we maintain our high standards, vital for any business of our nature,” he added.

January 21, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

AviancaTaca Firms up Order for 51 Eco-efficient A320 Aircraft

Purchase agreement is biggest for a single customer in Latin America history

26 January 2012 Press Release

AviancaTaca, which includes subsidiary AeroGal of Ecuador, has signed a purchase agreement for 33 eco-efficient A320neo and 18 A320 Family aircraft. The order, which is the largest from a single airline in the region in terms of number of aircraft, follows a MOU signed during the Le Bourget Air Show in Paris in June 2011.

The new aircraft will support AviancaTaca’s expansion into new markets in Latin America, while keeping the airline’s fleet among the youngest in the region.

“With this order AviancaTaca and our subsidiaries will continue the modernization process that includes fleet renewal as its primary focus,” said Fabio Villegas, President of AviacaTaca. “Our goal is to offer travelers the most comfortable and efficient aircraft in the market, and we are proud that the A320neo aircraft is recognized for its eco-efficiency and cutting-edge technology,”

“At Airbus, we are very proud of our contribution to the success story of AviancaTaca,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “Thanks to its unbeatable operating costs and the comfort it offers to passengers, the A320 Family has become the first choice for single-aisle aircraft among the most important operators worldwide.”

AviancaTaca has placed firm orders for 190 Airbus aircraft (including the latest 51) and has currently in service 88 A320 Family aircraft and eight A330. AviancaTaca operates the entire A320 Family, A318, A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.

Over 8,300 A320 Family aircraft have been ordered and some 5,000 delivered to more than340 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft Family. The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.

The A320neo is a new engine option for the A320 Family entering into service from 2015 and incorporates latest generation engines and large “Sharklet” wing tip devices, which together will deliver 15 percent in fuel savings. The reduction in fuel burn is equivalent to 1.4 million litres of fuel – the consumption of 1,000 mid size cars, saving 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. The A320neo NOx emissions are 50% below CAEP/6, and this aircraft also has a considerably smaller noise footprint.

To date, Airbus has sold 666 aircraft in Latin America and has a backlog of 351. The number of Airbus aircraft in operation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean reaches 435 units. In the last 10 years, Airbus tripled its in-service fleet, while delivering more than 60 percent of all aircraft operating in the region.

January 26, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Major Production Achievement for Airbus’ Modern, Single-aisle Aircraft Family

20 January 2012 Press Release

Airbus delivered the A320 with manufacturer serial number (MSN) 5000 to Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA). The aircraft was delivered from Airbus in Hamburg, Germany and is powered by International Aero Engines V2500 engines.

MSN5000 completes the deliveries of MEA’s total order for seven A320s. It marks a significant milestone for Airbus and the A320 Family going into 2012, as production rises from 38 to 40 per month during the first quarter of the year, and orders for the new A320neo reaffirm Airbus’ single-aisle Family as the most modern, fuel efficient in their category. MEA operates one of the most modern fleets in the region with four A330-200s, six A321 and including MSN5000, now seven A320 aircraft.

“We are honoured to become the operator of this brand new A320 with its distinctive serial number 5000 during the 25th anniversary year of the first flight of the A320 said MEA Chairman- Director General, Mohamad El Hout. “Since we first acquired an A320 Family aircraft in 2003, we have not only benefited from the outstanding operational efficiency of the aircraft but were also the first airline in the Middle East to introduce our wide-body cabin product on a single-aisle aircraft, thus offering our customers state of the art on-board entertainment with Audio/Video On Demand as well as a superbly comfortable and spacious cabin experience that has greatly contributed to MEA’s success.”

“Handing MSN5000 over to MEA is a real pleasure for Airbus. The Lebanese flag carrier has shown great courage maintaining its operations in the face of difficulty,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “It’s only natural that we pay tribute to MEA’s outstanding determination and recognise their unfailing loyalty with this landmark delivery. We look forward to seeing MEA continue to thrive and grow their network with our modern, fuel efficient Airbus family.”

Close to 8,300 A320 Family aircraft have already been ordered and more than 4,900 delivered to more than 350 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality with the current A320, making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.

January 22, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.