THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF EUROPEAN BUSINESS AVIATION
The business aviation segment of the civil aviation industry in Europe is on the threshold of change. This could enable operators to access more easily the small and regional airports through the combined use of satellite-based navigation and synthetic and enhanced vision technology. Demonstration flights have been carried out and the required avionics technologies are reaching maturity. What the industry is calling for now is the necessary regulatory framework to be put in place to enable operators to reap the benefits Europe-wide, as soon as possible. Small and regional airports account for about two-thirds of business aviation operations in Europe, but many of those facilities close down when visibility is low. When this happens, business jets are often diverted to larger, capacity-constrained airports. Many of these diversions could be avoided if aircraft were equipped with synthetic vision guidance systems (SVGS) and enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) avionics solutions. The business aviation sector seized on these two solutions when they were tested under the European Union’s recently concluded Augmented Approaches to Land (AAL) demonstration project. Most of the technologies demonstrated under the AAL project, which concluded in December 2016, are now considered mature and ready for implementation once that regulatory framework is in place. In addition to SVGS and EFVS technologies, advanced approach procedures using ground-based augmentation systems, satellite-based augmentation systems and curved required navigation performance legs were tested.