The European Safety Agency, EASA, has proposed new certification specifications (CS) for aerodrome design to enable large aeroplanes to operate at existing airports. An EASA statement said modern aircraft have very precise guidance systems for landing / take-off and taxiing; which means that the current international and European provisions for designing runway, taxiway and other areas can be lightened without compromising safety. The new proposal is meant to take this technological evolution into account.
The public consultation on this so-called Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) ends on May 31, 2017. EASA said it will review the comments received and prepare its decision for a regulatory change of certification specifications for aerodromes design.
EASA stated that with the proposed new CS, airports will be able to accept large aeroplanes within the existing infrastructure, thus increasing capacity, in particular at congested aerodromes. It added that the proposed modification of the aerodrome CS will also generate significant cost savings for aerodrome infrastructure building and maintenance costs, including those associated with runways, runway shoulders, and taxiways. It added that airlines would also benefit from the proposed provisions, since they would be able to operate large aeroplanes from more airports and improve their network planning.
In addition to the economic gains, EASA said its proposed move will also bring positive environmental benefits due to more efficient land use of and less construction materials being used for infrastructure.
In 2015 EASA launched an EU-level initiative aimed at finding swifter solutions to the challenges of accommodation large aircraft at existing aerodromes while ICAO introduced its similar Task Force project, to revise its Standards and Recommended Practises rules at a global level.
The information gathered and proposed changes from experts within the National Aviation Authorities (NAA), ACI Europe, aerodrome operators and the manufacturing industry were presented to the relevant ICAO and EASA bodies with the wide agreement to be incorporated in ICAO and EASA provisions.
The material was incorporated into the EASA NPA. Looking ahead, EASA says it will synchronise its NPA public consultation process with the ICAO consultation this summer, which will provide a better overview of the proposed developments to ICAO Member States.