Better runway throughput, lower emissions and noise: new arrival procedure simulation validates SRAP concept

An example of a Digital tower setup

Airports are an essential component in efforts to increase the capacity of the European ATM system. To improve airport performance, EUROCONTROL and SESAR partners are working on new solutions to increase runway throughput within SESAR 2020 project PJ02 “Increased runway and airport throughput”, one of which is SRAP, the Second Runway Aiming Point.

In a recent simulation, EUROCONTROL and ENAV validated the SRAP concept using the Milan Malpensa Airport environment. The simulation resulted in an increase of up to 5% in runway throughput, reducing total daily taxi time by around 40 minutes. That means lower fuel consumption and emissions, an annual saving of around 150 tons of fuel burn, and around 450 tons of CO2 emissions – as well as noise reductions.

The simulation took place at EUROCONTROL’s Experimental Centre in Brétigny, France, interconnecting the ESCAPE air traffic control and the eDEP digital tower simulators. To operate SRAP procedures and safely deliver separation on final approach, the controllers used our LORD separation tool for Optimised Runway Delivery

The SRAP concept permits ‘light wake’ category aircraft to fly a final approach above the approach profile of heavier aircraft flying to the primary runway threshold; this enables them to avoid the wake vortex of the larger aircraft. By flying the second final approach profile using satellite vertical navigation guidance, medium and light traffic can fly higher and further onto the runway. Depending on the traffic mix, this can bring an increase in the arrival throughput due to reduced wake turbulence separation while moving the final approach noise towards the airport area.

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Depending on airport configuration, the concept may also improve runway occupancy time and taxi-in time when an aircraft lands further on the runway and closer to runway exits and the gate. 

In 2018, Milan Malpensa Airport operated close to 200,000 movements on two parallel runways, a 9% year-on-year growth in traffic. The tested concept can be particularly valuable for an airport such as Malpensa where their main operator, which accounts for around 30% of traffic, can benefit from reduced runway occupancy time and taxi time, knowing that their terminal is located at the end of 4km long runways.

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As a next step, ENAV and EUROCONTROL will continue to collaborate on further operational demonstrations involving airlines, industry and aviation authorities, leading the concept towards deployment.

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