The EGNOS augmentation system, a powerful new tool for regional aviation, pushed its message at the recent European Regional Airlines Association (ERA) General Assembly in Barcelona.
"We are still at an early stage in the deployment of EGNOS for aviation," says Rafael Cardoso Herce of EGNOS Service Provider ESSP, "but we have a lot of confidence and our expectations are high. We know that this system has a lot to offer to smaller aerodromes, in terms of cost savings, increased capacity and safety. So we are here to get the message out."
Speaking at the 'EGNOS for Aviation' stand at the ERA General Assembly in Barcelona in September 2010, Hans de With, Aviation Market Development Officer at the GSA said EGNOS' presence at the event was as much about gathering information as it was about dissemination. "What do European aerodrome operators know about EGNOS? What are their needs and expectations? What are the airlines expecting in terms of new services and improved performance? Are we going to see wide-scale refitting of existing fleets? And how are aircraft manufacturers preparing themselves? Will their new aircraft be EGNOS-ready?"
Air Nostrum provided some answers. The airline has announced that all its new aircraft are to be SBAS- and more specifically EGNOS-ready. Air Nostrum has been a key player in the ongoing development of EGNOS for aviation, having led groundbreaking projects such as GIANT and ACCEPTA and demonstrating EGNOS in regional airports in Spain and Italy. Air Nostrum CEO Carlos Bertomeu was a featured speaker at the ERA event, where he highlighted the special features of EGNOS that make it ideally suited to regional aviation.
What is the ERA ?
The European Regions Airline Association represents some 70 intra-European airlines which annually carry 70.6 million passengers on 1.6 million flights to 426 destinations in 61 European countries. ERA also represents and supports more than 100 Associate and Affiliate members including airframe and engine manufacturers, airports, suppliers and service providers.
The General Assembly is ERA's premier annual event. It includes conference sessions, an exhibition, awards dinner, and a number of social and networking events. It is typically attended by around 500 senior-level executives from throughout European Air Transport.
To the aid of a struggling industry
European airline operators have been hard-hit in recent years, first by the economic down-turn and then by the volcanic ash cloud in early 2010. Participants at this years' ERA General Assembly were not one hundred percent convinced by some of the EU's recent regulatory measures, but, as ERA Director General Michael Ambrose said, one thing is certain: "We are desperately in need of better satellite navigation services. That's why we are keeping a close eye on the EGNOS programme, and of course we are looking further ahead to new capacities to be made available by Galileo."