Technological developments in Iceland to support the environment.

The world is focusing more and more on environmental issues. The Paris convention of 2015 set the goals and the world has been working towards them ever since. Isavia has published its environmental policy and is working in accordance with the United Nations (UN) priority targets for the UN Global Compact. Isavia Air Navigation Service (here after ANS) has been working on several improvements to reduce CO2 emissions and decrease fuel burn and noise pollution.

Automatic dependent Surveillance Broadcast

ANS was the first European ANSP to provide Air Traffic Control services to air transport aircraft, based on ADS-B. ANS now provides ATC services using space-based ADS-B and ground-based ADS-B and radars located at multiple sites in Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland, providing a unified surveillance coverage for the Reykjavik Control Area (CTA). The implementation of ground-based ADS-B in conjunction with direct controller pilot VHF voice communications enabled reduction in separation from 50 NM lateral and 15 minutes longitudinal to 5 NM target to target separation. With this implementation ANS was able to establish a transatlantic surveillance corridor bridging Europe and North America, delivering efficiency, safety, and environmental benefits. In the spring of 2022, the satellite-based ADS-B coverage was expanded to cover the whole of the CTA. In the spring of 2023 BIRD CTA implemented reduced separation from 23 NM lateral and 5 minutes longitudinal to 15 NM ATS Surveillance separation.

Global Navigation Satellite system (GNSS)

Implementing separation procedures based on GNSS (RNAV/RNP) in the low-level airspace where lateral separation was decreased from 30, 50 or 120 NM to as low as 7, 15 or 20 NM has led to significantly better use of airspace where aircraft are more likely to get their optimum flight levels without delays. Fewer aircraft are now restricted to holding for separation purposes. ANS has published PBN Transition Plan where one can see the present status and the planned implementation of RNAV and RNP procedures.

Developments at Keflavík Airport (BIKF):

Arrival manager (AMAN) and time-based arrival manager (TAMAN)

  • Amended sequencing procedures using speed restrictions instead of vectoring or holding, supported by AMAN/TAMAN (an addition to the air traffic controller’s surveillance display) has led to more efficient use of airspace.

Performance Based Navigation (PBN)

  • Implementing Required Navigation Performance (RNP) Standard Instrument Departures (SID) and Standard Instrument Arrivals (STAR) at Keflavik supported with continuous descent operational. The implementation has led to aircraft being able to descend without stepped descent.
  • Implementing RNP approach procedures with lower obstacle clearance altitude (OCA) than for the traditional approach procedures leads to fewer missed approaches due to weather.

Continuous descent arrival (CDA)

  • ANS has been working on implementing Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) for Keflavík airport for the last few years by implementing standard arrival routes based on GNSS and procedures for air traffic controllers aiming on saving fuel, less CO2 emission and reducing noise in the vicinity of the airport.
  • The definition of CDA being applied is when the flight has descended idle with no steps longer than 1NM (except for aerodynamics steps) between the upper limit (TOD) and the lower limit (3000ft) of the arrival approach CDA procedure. Where an aerodynamic step is a deceleration step, which means that the pilot did not use 'high thrust' (the thrust was below 50%).
  • Looking at CDA achievements for Icelandair in Keflavík, we can see great progress. The average application in 2016 was slightly above 50% on the approach to Keflavik airport, but now the numbers are above 80%. See below:

Noise abatement

  • Flight procedures and the use of runways have been amended to reduce noise in the vicinity of Keflavik airport. Acoustic noise monitors have been placed at several locations at and around the airport. A web tracking system better enables the neighbouring communities to gauge noise levels and even submit complaints about specific flights.
Figure 4: Noise monitor system
Figure 4: Noise monitor system
Heatmap: RNAV/RNP for RWYs 01 and 28 implemented
Heatmap: RNAV/RNP for RWYs 01 and 28 implemented
Heatmap:RNAV/RNP implemented for all RWYs
Heatmap:RNAV/RNP implemented for all RWYs

The 2030 vision for North Atlantic (NAT) Region

The NAT 2030 vision contains potential improvements with the use of User Preferred Routings (UPR). ANS is a part of the Borealis Alliance, a collaboration of nine Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in northern Europe. Most Borealis members have been implementing Free Route Airspace (FRA) for a number of years. When fully implemented, the Borealis Alliance FRA Programme will enable aircraft operators to fly the most cost effective, fuel efficient and timely routes across the entire airspace managed by Borealis Alliance members, thereby reducing cost and greenhouse gas emissions.