Making final approach operations more streamlined for its multiple users

24 February 2017

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and EUROCONTROL jointly chaired the Final Approach Operations Symposium from 31 January to 2 February 2017. The three-day event, held at EUROCONTROL’s Brussels headquarters, addressed issues of relevance for the development and implementation of approach operations.

Increasingly, the number of possibilities for carrying out final approach operations - due to performance-based navigation (PBN) and innovative technical solutions based on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and advanced avionics - is blurring the borders between the once clear-cut non-precision and precision approach landscapes.

The main focus of the Symposium was to clarify the complex interactions between the multiple stakeholders and actors involved in final approach operations, including airports, air navigation service providers, airspace users, procedure designers, regulators, aircraft and system manufacturers, among others. The challenge is to bring all these different players together to find a common understanding of each other’s roles and needs in this flight phase. It is crucial for these players to exploit the varied opportunities available, find effective synergies and grasp their complementary aspects.

Other topics of discussion included the need to consider the impact of making changes in the final approach phase of a flight and to find efficient applications for final approaches, without making operations too complex for users, pilots and controllers in particular. The greater complexity of technological ‘cross-over’ solutions was also debated at the Symposium.

The wide variety of presentations and discussions as well as informal exchanges mapped out the existing and future challenges and contributed significantly to improving participants’ understanding of final approach operations. In addition, the Symposium facilitated the exchanges of data, information and best practices between the various organisations.

The main conclusions drawn from the Symposium were the need to simplify the terminology behind the concept and the understanding that one size does not fit all; international organisations should provide guidance on what the final approach options are, while allowing a degree of flexibility for different environments. You can download the full event summary below:

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Video

Watch our video from the event which includes interviews from the organisers and participants.

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