Implementation of GNSS-based RNAV-flight procedures – quantification of potential benefits for business aviation users

The objective of this paper is to discuss and quantify the potential benefits of the implementation of (augmented) GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System)-based RNAV-procedures at airports in Europe form a business aviation perspective. Although business aviation represents only a fraction of the total air transport demand measured by aircraft movements or even passengers, it has a significant value to businesses and the economy. With GNSS signals now being available to European aviation users augmented by EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) a considerable number of airports can highly increase their accessibility and value to business aviation by adding GNSS-based IFR (Instrument Flight Rules)-Procedures which previously could only be realized using highly expensive ground based equipment such as instrument landing systems (ILS).Business aviation serves a small fraction of air transport demand measured by aircraft movements or even passengers but contributes considerable values to businesses and the economy. Beyond being one among many location factors for site selection of businesses, air transport access including business aviation serves high value purposes and using a time-value approach, the average business aviation’s value of time figure is estimated to be 8 to 15 times higher than the value of time of an average air transport passenger on a business trip [1].More than other air transport segments, business aviation by definition requires fast, reliable and flexible connectivity to both, economic centers (e.g. company headquarter sites) and relatively remote locations (e.g. production sites, suppliers, customers) [2].Previously in many regions, access by business aviation was limited by the availability of flight procedures allowing aircraft operations even in adverse weather conditions (reliability) at airports that simultaneously allow ad- hoc scheduling (flexibility) and fast passenger processing. While most remote and/or small airports allow unrestricted ad-hoc scheduling and quick passenger transfer between landside (car) to airside (business aircraft) they mostly lack the financial possibilities to afford expensive navigation infrastructure such as ILS to ensure reliable business aviation services independent from most weather situations. On the other hand airports with adequate navigation infrastructure in most cases primarily serve scheduled airline services. This usually complicates and slows down the airport processes for business aviation passengers. In addition, those airports serving economic centers are also often slot coordinated so that flexibility in arrival and departure times is highly restricted, drastically reducing the usefulness to business aviation. An exemplary evaluation of the current situation is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1: Exemplary accessibility assessment of South- West Germany measuring road access times to the nearest airport equipped with a runway 1500 m or longer and IFR capabilities comparing the results with and without the inclusion of slot restricted airports. It becomes evident that from a business aviation perspective the economic centres of Frankfurt (EDDF) and Stuttgart (EDDS) are only accessible through major airports offering only restricted flexibility though slot coordination and relatively time consuming passenger processes. Today, the availability of certified high precision satellite navigation services (GNSS with EGNOS) provides new possibilities to economically equip small airports (measured by air traffic volume) with IFR capabilities and thus maximizing the regional coverage of highly efficient business aviation services in Europe – see Figure 2.Figure 2: Satellite based approach procedures allow cost effective IFR-upgrades at many airports by providing ILS-comparable utility reducing weather impact on flight operations at much lower costs. The proposed paper will show how Satellite based flight procedures helps to improve the business aviation accessibility and level of service in a European context. In a case study the macro-economic value of the implementation of such procedures will be estimated.