Honeywell has announced that Qantas Airlines has received approval by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to use the Honeywell SmartPath™ Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) at Sydney International Airport for satellite-based landings on their A380 aircraft.
The Honeywell SmartPath GBAS is the nexgen navigation technology that supports precision approach and landings using Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data and transmits digital guidance signals to aircraft systems. Airservices Australia, with whom Honeywell has worked on SmartPath GBAS in a coordinated effort, has been actively engaged in the use of GBAS technology since 1999 and has been operating the Honeywell SmartPath GBAS ground station in Sydney since November 2006. Qantas had previously been approved to fly GBAS approaches with their Boeing 737 fleet, recording more than 1,600 GBAS landings in Sydney to date with precision guidance provided by Honeywell's SmartPath GBAS. A GBAS landing on the A380 was first demonstrated during the Airbus A380 test flight in Sydney in June 2007. Honeywell provides the Flight Management System and 11 other products and systems for the Airbus A380.
Currently, aircraft use Instrument Landing System (ILS) technology, an older technology with technical limitations that impact flight path flexibility and airport throughput. ILS is also susceptible to signal interference by weather and obstacles, including large aircraft like the A380. This can result in significant disruptions to airport traffic and cause delays. Replacing ILS with GBAS has been identified in the FAA's NextGen and Eurocontrol's SESAR programs as critical enablers for improving air traffic capacity. Honeywell's Sydney installation is one of eight Honeywell GBAS stations operating world-wide, with additional installations planned at airports in the U.S. and Europe throughout 2009.