Due to travel restrictions, the International GBAS Working Group (IGWG) cannot be held at the moment. It was thus decided to invite the IGWG members to the meetings of EUROCONTROL’s Landing and Take-Off and GBAS Implementation support group (LATO/GBAS ISG) and extend the Agenda with international topics and presenters. The LATO/35 meeting, held from 17-19 March 2021 was chaired by Andreas Lipp and organized by David Duchet, both from EUROCONTROL.
As the meeting was held virtually, attendance totaled an exceptional 180 individual attendees from 26 countries, the EC and its Agencies and EUROCONTROL. Notable were strong Chinese and Japanese delegations, but also representatives from Australia, Africa and all parts of America. The high number was surprising, as many presenters indicated to have significantly reduced GBAS effort due to COVID19 recovery actions. It seems, information exchange is especially important in this situation.
All sectors were represented: ANSP and airports, industry, airlines (10 different ones), the research community, 7 different regulators, industry associations and ICAO. Notably, the UAS/air taxi industry participated for the first time, with Lillium and General Atomics, as well as representatives from the military.
Airbus remains committed to GLS and reported an increasing GLS customer base and about 25% of sales with GLS equipped aircraft. Boeing is very active in developing multi-constellation- dual-frequency GBAS concepts and is maintaining it policy as reported at LATO/34, with GAST D available on B777-8/9. Both are supporting work on enabling CAT II operations on GAST C-equipped aircraft.
The status reports of service provider plans, users and manufacturer updates were less numerous, as COVID-related priorities prevail. Participants nevertheless appreciated the possibility to get a concentrated overview of the worldwide state of the activities and the possibilities to have active discussions even in the virtual format.
Of the different manufacturers in attendance, Indra Navia, NEC and NPPF Spectr briefed their intended way forward for CAT-III GBAS development work. While the Indra Navia approval activities have been slowed and NEC has to contend with a hold on the implementation in Haneda, development activites are continuing, as are the plans of the European GBAS Alliance despite a realignment of the timeline.
The key value of the meeting however lies in the technical working sessions, where more in depth briefings can take place. At this meeting, two half-days were dedicated to DFMC GBAS briefings, with topics ranging from the ongoing work on the different DFMC GBAS concepts, monitor validation activities to new user needs and additional applications.
Another key subject was a session on interference aspects, with presentations on the use of GNSS jammers by authorities, the EUROCONTROL civil-military coordination, especially a testing guidance document, an activity investigation spoofing risks for aviation and the status of the risk assessment of 5G on radio altimeter function.
As in previous meetings, another topic of particular interest with lively discussions was the desire on progress towards approval of CAT-II operations on a GAST-C GBAS system, which is in Europe also a SESAR demonstration project.
In addition to the SESAR technical work both on GAST D and DFMC GBAS, there are several SESAR work packages dedicated to pursuing advanced arrival procedures enabled by GBAS, LVP operations into secondary airports and for curved approaches, using notably geometric height from transition altitude. Progress and the planned demonstrations at several European airports in 2021 was presented.
Participants were extremely satisfied with the meeting, and agreed that the LATO continues to fulfil a recognized important function in GBAS development, cooperation and implementation work. It has been emphasized by the participants that the meeting’s virtual format seems well adapted to the participants’ needs in the current exceptional situation, allowing for open information exchange between ANSPs, airports, airlines and OEMs. The working group addresses relevant issues for GBAS, and enables exchanges of data and information which can be effectively used by participants in formulating their business strategies and implementation plans.
Until the possibility of convening an International GBAS Working Group in Europe, the extended LATO meetings will continue, with the next meeting planned for 7-9 September 2021.