Fuel and time saving navigation procedures operational at Cape Town International


South Africa’s second busiest international port of entry and exit – Cape Town International Airport – has implemented “required navigational performance – authorisation required (RNP-AR)” procedures to decrease fuel burn and shorten travel time.

Implementation of the procedure comes after approval by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

In addition to cutting fuel burn, leading to less carbon dioxide emissions, the RNP-AR procedure is expected to cut flight times between OR Tambo International and Cape Town by up to 10 minutes. The procedure will also improve safety, decrease operational costs and increase scheduling integrity by improving on-time performance, according to national carrier South African Airways (SAA).

The new flight procedures are in use on all SAA flights in and out of Cape Town International irrespective of weather conditions.

The RNP-AR procedures provide shorter flight paths giving a reduction in both flight time and fuel burn on each approach and departure track. This can result in SAA potentially saving more than 600 000 kg of fuel a year.
“One the technology is rolled out onto SAA’s regional and international network, the long term benefit is not only a substantial saving in fuel costs but also a significant improvement in flight safety, particularly where there is limited ground-based navigational infrastructure,” SAA head of flight operations and chief pilot, Captain Johnny Woods, said.

Implementation of RNP-AR is the result of a partnership between SAA and Quovadis, a subsidiary of Airbus ProSky.

Woods said the first implementation of RNP-AR marked the start of South Africa’s readiness for a wider performance based navigation deployment in line with recommendations set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“This opens the door for further implementations as well as procedure design,” Woods said.