At 10am on April 6, Bremen Airport (IATA: BRE) was the setting for a German first. It was the first time that a passenger aircraft landed in Germany using a new satellite-based precision approach procedure without the aid of the conventional ground-based navigation infrastructure.
This was made possible by EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) that supplements GPS and other satellite navigation systems. It improves the position accuracy of GPS from 10-20 metres to 1-3 meters. Bremen is the first airport in Germany to have implemented a precision approach procedure using SBAS.
SBAS provides an alternative to the conventional instrument landing system (ILS) and can also be used in poor weather conditions.
“In the medium- and long term, DFS is planning on making more use of satellite-based navigation for approaches and thus create an alternative to the traditional ILS category I,” explained Andre Biestmann, Director of Airspace and ANS Support at Germany’s air navigation services provider, DFS.
This is not the first time that Bremen Airport was on the cutting edge of air navigation technology. In 2012, the world’s first approach using a ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) for satellite navigation was employed.