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What’s New: Eurocontrol (the EU’s air traffic coordinator) Network Directors of Technology Working Group recently met and expressed concern that:

  • The EU has twice sought contractors to develop GBAS Category III approaches and had no takers. – GBAS CAT III are GPS-based approaches that allow automated landings. They are very useful in bad weather and at night, and traffic flow and other advantages over ILS and other forms of approach and landing.
  • “….a significant increase in GNSS jamming and spoofing raised questions on the use of GNSS-based systems for such critical operations.
  • The issue cannot, however, be solved by technology discussions…” Policy plays a huge part. Especially plans to rely even more on GNSS, the lack of alternatives, and business implications.

Why It’s Important:

  • Policy makers often like to “leave their options open” and only decide or act when they have no other choice.  The tech folks throwing their hands up in despair could be the beginning of a policy discussion and change.

What Else to Know:

  • Eurocontrol says they averaged 33,000 flights a day last week. Any slow down in throughput is going to impact a lot of people, fuel costs, etc.
  • Some of the concerns expressed about the cost and time to certify ground systems, like ILS, may be overblown. The use of drones and other automation has greatly reduced both. – Sometimes folks forget that all tech progresses, not just the most recent.