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SAA's new aircraft technology set to reduce fuel burn and travel time
South African Airways (SAA) has received authorisation to fly new safety enhancing and fuel saving instrument departure and approach procedures. The approval, which is the first in Africa, paves the way for further developments that could enhance safety and increase operational efficiency throughout SAA's route network.
The benefits of the new procedures, which put SAA on a select list of premier airlines with cutting-edge technology and operational capability, include improvement in safety, decreased operational costs, increased scheduling integrity with direct impact on on-time performance, increased revenue, and reduced environmental impact. The use of the new technology can further decrease travelling time on trips to and from Cape Town, for instance, by 5 – 10 minutes.
Following an approval by the South African Civil Aviation Authority, SAA is now using the new flight procedures in all weather conditions on flights into and out of Cape Town International Airport. The new procedures, known as Required Navigational Performance - Authorisation Required (RNP-AR) procedures which utilise advanced on-board navigation technology and space based GPS signals to achieve the enhancements in safety and efficiency.
The new RNP-AR procedures will provide shorter flight paths allowing a reduction in flight time and fuel burn on each approach and departure track. This will provide an opportunity for immediate benefit with SAA aircraft potentially saving over 600 000kg of fuel per year.
“Once the technology is rolled out onto SAA’s regional and international network, the long term benefit is not only a substantial saving in fuel costs but also a significant improvement in flight safety, particularly when flying in areas with limited ground-based navigational infrastructure,” said SAA's chief pilot, Capt. Johnny Woods, head of flight operations.
The new procedures are the result of a partnership between SAA and Quovadis, a subsidiary of Airbus ProSky.
“This milestone signifies South Africa’s readiness for a wider Performance Based Navigation deployment in line with recommendations set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). We are thus grateful for the great support from Quovadis, Airbus and Boeing and look forward to future implementations and procedure design,” said Capt. Woods.