19th International GBAS Working Group (I-GWG/19)

PANSA, the Polish ANSP, and Krakow Airport were the hosts for I-GWG/19, with the meeting co-chaired by EUROCONTROL’s Andreas Lipp together with the FAA’s Shelly Beauchamp; the meeting secretariat was shared between Lendina Smaja, and the Dieter Guenter.

IGWG, or the EUROCONTROL/FAA International GBAS Working Group to give it its full name, is the worldwide exchange forum on technical and operational aspects of GBAS (Ground Based Augmentation System), the airport-based precision approach landing system designed to ensure enhanced level of service in support of all phases of approach and landing in all weather conditions.

I-GWG/19 was well-attended by 130 participants from 30 States, across the aviation value chain (regulators, ANSPs, airports, airlines – including ten majors – aircraft and avionics manufacturers), and with delegations from China and India for the first time. It was a chance to discuss the latest developments and exchange information and experiences.

The main outcomes of I-GWG/19 were that several new GBAS CAT I implementations in Poland, China and the US were announced, as was the operational usability of over 100 installations in Russia. On GBAS CAT II, SESAR in Europe and airlines and FAA in the USA are working on enabling operations on several fielded CAT I ground and airborne systems, with initial operations starting later this year.

In particular, GBAS CAT III is now a reality and being implemented at airplane level – additional effort in Europe is required to support approval processes for the ground subsystems. Participants were pleased to note that progress is being made on GAST-D, the GBAS Approach Service Type D which will allow airport operations using CAT III. I-GWG/19 participants agreed that Europe must intensify support for GBAS CAT III certification, in order to fully reap the benefits – as demonstrated in the SESAR validation. This will allow GBAS to provide airports with resilience in all weather conditions.

On the first day of the meeting, a variety of presentations were made by airlines, airframe manufacturers (Boeing reported that it has equipped over 3,500 aircraft and has another 5,000 on order), avionics manufacturers and service providers. Technical and operational working sessions were held on the second and third days. Many operational groups focused their discussions on the newly-coordinated means of allowing expanded service volumes – needed by airports with a requirement for extended final approach segments. These technical sessions were very active, including data collection and evaluation – in which EUROCONTROL’s PEGASUS data processing software was featured – and ionospheric aspects, with an update by ICAO’s Ionospheric Gradient Monitoring Ad-hoc Group.

The next meeting of I-GWG will be held in in the Americas in the spring of 2019.