Saturday, 1 August 2015

A watchful eye in the sky

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The official launch of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) in October 2009 put Europe at the cutting edge of satellite-augmentation technology, which improves the accuracy of Global Positioning System (GPS) data used by airlines around the world.

EGNOS is one of four Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBASs) that uses supplementary ground stations and transponders to sharpen existing satellite signals, reducing the margin of error from 17 metres on standard GPS receivers to about three metres. The other three SBASs are WAAS in America, MSAS in Japan and GAGAN in India.

For airlines in these regions, augmented GPS signals translate to more accurate flight-paths that reduce fuel burn and associated costs; enhanced access to airports with operational constraints; and – above all – improved safety throughout flight...