Steeper approaches to southern and centre runways reduce noise impact

31.03.2017.- DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, Fraport and Lufthansa have introduced GBAS landings with an increased glide angle / Frankfurt the first hub airport worldwide to offer this procedure / partners jointly developing a pioneering role in noise abatement in Frankfurt.

31.03.2017.- Today at Frankfurt Airport, the first satellite-based precision landings with an increased glide angle of 3.2° began with an Airbus 319 and a Boeing 747-8 of Lufthansa on the airport’s southern and centre runways. Until now, such landings with increased glide angles were only possible on the northwest runway. The precision landing ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) introduced by DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, Fraport AG and Lufthansa at Frankfurt in 2014 now also makes it possible to raise the glide angle for all other runways for appropriately equipped aircraft from 3 to 3.2 degrees.

“By taking this step we are following the path we first took in 2014 and thus taking account of people living near airports and the steeper landings they want. Unfortunately, not all airlines have the expensive flight deck technology on board that is required for this procedure,” said Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung.

“As an international pioneer in noise prevention, we and our partners have introduced this innovative, forward-looking technology at an early stage and invested in the development of the GBAS system. Today, Frankfurt is the first hub airport worldwide that offers GBAS landings with an increased glide angle in final approach. With the launch of this new approach procedure for the airport’s other landing runways, we have again implemented a further active noise protection measure,” said Anke Giesen, Director of Fraport Operations.

“For many years we have been working to reduce our noise emissions. This year alone, the Lufthansa Group is again taking delivery of around 40 modern, low-noise aircraft. This is complemented by a variety of active noise prevention measures which we are implementing together with our partners. After our short-haul aircraft and our Airbus A330 und A340 long-haul aircraft were able to make noise-reduced approaches to the northwest runway, our flagship Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A380 have now followed suit. As such, we are making our contribution to reducing aircraft noise at our largest hub,” said Klaus Froese, CEO of Operations & Hub Frankfurt, Deutsche Lufthansa AG. 

Raising the glide angle during final approach is an effective, active measure to counteract noise during the approach phase when the most intensive noise is produced. This was already demonstrated by the 3.2° approach using ILS on the northwest runway. Approaches of 3.2° to the other landing runways will especially benefit the municipalities of Raunheim, Rüsselsheim, Bischofsheim and Mainz-Süd as well as Offenbach and Neu-Isenburg. Today’s launch by DFS, Fraport and Lufthansa at the Frankfurt hub once again underlines and expands the joint international pioneering role in implementing active noise prevention measures.

About GBAS

GBAS enables precision approaches using satellite navigation and an additional ground station. The accuracy provided by satellite navigation alone of plus or minus 15 metres is not sufficient for landings. This is only achieved when the ground station provides the required correction of the satellite signal.GBAS also enables approaches with a steeper approach angle of 3.2° instead of the usual 3°. With the usual approach procedure using the instrument landing system, this could only be achieved by installing an additional system. This is why four instrument landing systems have been installed at the northwest runway since it was first commissioned. The new, robust technology also provides other important benefits compared to approach procedures currently used at Frankfurt. A single GBAS ground station, for instance, can support approaches to several runways, which the ILS cannot. If all aircraft are equipped with the appropriate on-board receivers in the future, GBAS will be able to supersede the instrument landing system (ILS) completely.

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,550 employees as at 31 December 2016. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day and about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at 16 international airports in Germany. The DFS subsidiary, DFS Aviation Services GmbH (DAS) provides air navigation services as well as consultancy services.