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Airport noise and performance-based navigation: A force for good or evil?

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The global aviation system is in the midst of modernisation. This includes a transition to satellite-based navigation, which offers opportunities for improved safety, efficiency and predictability. This paper posits that — despite some false starts — performance-based navigation (PBN) also offers opportunities to address noise problems. PBN relies on satellites for navigation, rather than ground-based navigational aids. The improved precision of PBN routes generally results in concentration of flights into narrow corridors. When implemented without consideration of community impacts, it has resulted in significant community outcry (even lawsuits), but when implemented with care, it can offer potential to avoid noise-sensitive areas. Our experience shows that the most successful projects are those in which the airport has been fully engaged and in which there is extensive and meaningful collaboration between all stakeholders: air navigation service providers (ANSP), industry (including airlines and other operators), airports and communities. Participants should not expect this to be easy — it is a lengthy and expensive process — but one that may be necessary for long-term compatibility and for airport growth. This paper provides an overview of PBN development in the USA as well as case studies of implementation of PBN at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (AZ), Oakland International Airport (CA) and Boston Logan International Airport (MA). The case studies illustrate the increasing collaboration between stakeholders and show that progress can be made.
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Keywords: NEPA; airport noise; environmental assessment; performance-based navigation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2018

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  • Journal of Airport Management is the essential professional journal publishing in-depth, peer-reviewed articles and real world case studies on airport management, finance, development, ground-handling, airport-airline relations and regulation - with no advertising or sales pitches.

    Guided by an expert Editorial Board and published in association with Airports Council International, each quarterly 100-page issue publishes original, authoritative articles and case studies written by and for airport managers, ground-handling companies, airlines and regulators, as well as their advisers, service providers, researchers and academics. Each issue provides detailed analysis, new thinking, 'lessons learned' and 'how to' guides from fellow professionals around the world that can be applied in your organisation, plus the latest research in the field.
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