Published on Monday 26 March 2018
As of January 1st 2019, all airlines and business aviation operating to Nice airport shall comply with the RNP APCH navigation specification. This measure aims at improving flight safety and Air Traffic Management in Nice, particularly facing west in adverse MET conditions.
As of January 1st 2019, all airlines and business aviation operating to Nice airport shall comply with the RNP APCH navigation specification.
What does RNP APCH navigation specification mean?
RNP APCH stands for Required Navigation Performance for APproaCH. It is a Performance Based Navigation (PBN) specification dealing with approach procedures notably using satellite guidance. This specification requires on board performance monitoring and alerting function. This function monitors all types of errors that may affect the aircraft capacity to follow the designated trajectory.
The RNP APCH specification is defined in the ICAO 9613 Document “PBN Manual”
RNP APCH is the terminology used in the ICAO PBN Manual to describe approaches that are published on charts titled “RNAV (GNSS)”. Different operating minima are published on those charts:
- LNAV minima for an RNP APCH approach without vertical guidance,
- LNAV/VNAV minima for an RNP APCH approach with vertical guidance based on barometric equipment,
- LPV minima for an RNP APCH approach with vertical guidance based on a SBAS (Satellite Based Augmentation System).
"RNP approaches will soon become the procedures to be systematically in force at Nice airport, emphasizing the need to promote the optimal on-board equipment principle among the aeronautical community as a tangible means to improve accessibility” DSNA PBN Program Director
How must airline comply with this mandate?
This RNP APCH compliance shall be referenced in the Flight Manual, and the Flight Plan filled in in accordance.
An aircraft capable to perform at least an “LNAV-type” RNP APCH will be able to operate at Nice Airport.
We recommend that all aircraft operators contact their National Surveillance Authority (NSA) to get all the necessary information on the way to comply with this RNP APCH navigation specification both on an airworthiness (aircraft) and operational (aircrew) point of view.
- aircraft owned, rented or charted by the State, and aircraft belonging to Foreign States;
- aircraft in emergency situations;
- aircraft performing medical flights or medical evacuations.
Why is such a mandate needed for operations to Nice airport?
Improving flight safety and Air Traffic Management in Nice, particularly facing west in adverse MET conditions.
Adverse weather situations over Nice airport principally occur when runway 22 is in use. Westerly landings do not always rhyme with great sunshine and strong head winds. Such met events are linked to the specific topology of the airfield, mountains being so close to the coast line. Visibility or cloud base height issues are frequently observed in the bay of Nice. Airport accessibility can thus become at stake as the operating minima for the existing procedures are high.
Two procedures exist to join runway 22, the VOR B and the RNAV D. RNAV D and VOR B procedures merge almost perpendicularly at about 6 miles final into the same visual track. Managing the traffic becomes particularly challenging and hazardous to ensure accurate sequencing between the different finals when handling operators capable of flying the PBN procedure and the ones that cannot. Both procedures are never used simultaneously.
As a consequence, the VOR B remained the RWY 22 preferential approach waiting for a mandate to ensure that all traffic operating to Nice airport are RNP APCH compliant and thus able to fly the RNAV D procedure.
From the 1st January 2019, thanks to the RNP APCH mandate, all runway 22 operations will be performed following the RNAV D approach only. Published in 2012 to improve flyability (the visual segment being in the continuity of the RNAV segment) and allow better operating minima, RNAV D will be the RWY 22 approach in use by default, taking full credit of its safety improvements
Besides, by removing the transitioning from the VOR B procedure to the RNAV D when visibility drops below 8000m or ceiling below 1.500ft, the provisional strong capacity reductions previously implemented won’t be needed any longer. The RNP APCH mandate will ease rwy 22 ATM in adverse MET conditions, allowing using more progressive regulation rates, and thus reducing the delays. Moreover the RNP APCH mandate will allow a harmonized and consistent ATM CONOPS to join Nice airfield in all configurations.