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Satellite navigation

Galileo: Applications for aviation

Traditionally aviation relies on costly ground radio navigation systems near airports such as ILS (Instrument Landing System) for landing operations. EGNOS has actually been designed to answer aviation needs for secured landing approaches with the EGNOS Safety of Life service.

This service guarantees the position given by the receiver to be inside certain boundaries and encompasses an integrity function which consists in a warning message sent to the pilot within 6 seconds in case of malfunction. It can therefore be used for en-route navigation and allows for IFR-like (Instrument flight rules) operation in non ILS equipped airports.

By reducing the angle of approach and bringing a better lateral guidance, EGNOS may increase airports' capacity and avoids the installation of expensive land based navigation aids.

Aircrafts can rely on this technology even for intercontinental journeys, as EGNOS is completely interoperable with other Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) such as the US WAAS, the Japanese MSAS or the forthcoming Indian GAGAN. Despite its relative small size with around 90 000 GNSS units shipped in 2010, the aviation sector has a significant productivity impact on the whole European private sector.

In this regard, the European Commission launched EGNOS Safety of Life service in March 2011 and contributes to raising the awareness of EGNOS advantages among the aviation community. The European Commission seeks to ensure that EGNOS operational coverage for the whole European Union and, to make best use of EGNOS geostationary satellites footprints (which go from North Europe to South Africa and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian one), it prepares its extension to the Middle-East, Eastern and Northern Europe and will propose scenarios for Africa.

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