The skies above Europe are becoming increasingly congested as Europe’s major airports. This growth in air traffic means all airports need to be safely accessible at all times. EGNOS, the European geostationary navigation overlay service, offers enhanced vertical as well as horizontal precision and integrity, improved safety, accessibility and efficiency for operators, pilots and airports across Europe. EGNOS is a satellite-based augmentation system that improves GNSS positioning using three satellites and a network of more than 39 reference stations in 24 countries. But how can EGNOS make a difference?

EGNOS improves safety by providing pilots with reliable and accurate vertical guidance, increasing situational awareness and reducing workload. EGNOS also acts as a backup for ground-based systems and as a key element of air traffic management. EGNOS is providing reliable positioning for ADSB. This is a new cooperative surveillance technology, in which an aircraft determines its location using satellite positioning and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked. EGNOS is a cost-effective alternative to ILS CAT 1, offering similar performance without the need for costly ground-based infrastructure and maintenance.

In fact, the PBN regulation approved by the European Commission in 2018 opened up a new paradigm for European air traffic, leading to EGNOS approaches to all airports by 2024 and supporting the rationalization of conventional navigational aids (NAVAIDS). They are moving to a full PBN environment enabled by European GNSS by 2030. The lower decision heights enabled by EGNOS can also reduce costly delays, diversions and cancellations. All that’s needed is an onboard EGNOS certified receiver, an adapted procedure for the runway end and an adapted flight management system.

For pilots flying EGNOS approaches only requires limited training and will in many cases be smoother than using an ILS. With an EGNOS procedure even small and medium-sized airports and heliports remain accessible even in poor weather conditions. EGNOS can also reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. By facilitating curved approaches and continuous descent paths. And therefore reduce both noise and emissions. For helicopters, EGNOS allows custom approach procedures to be developed from any direction using steeper approaches than those flown by fixed-wing aircraft. Thereby avoiding densely populated areas. This is especially relevant for emergency and rescue operations, where EGNOS enables operations anywhere, anytime and in any weather conditions.

EGNOS was certified for civil aviation in 2011. As of mid 2019, 650 procedures were published and many more under development. Over the years the performance of EGNOS has also been improved, including the launch of LPV 200. The majority of navigation systems in today’s aircraft and helicopters now integrate EGNOS and many airlines now fly EGNOS approaches across Europe. EGNOS version 3 which will integrate Galileo, is under development, and EGNOS will be extended possibly beyond Europe. EGNOS can provide accessibility, safety and cost savings in a single proven solution by delivering high-precision with a low investment.

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