Saigon airport's new navigation method allows more flights per hour

By Anh Duy   October 11, 2019 | 03:33 am PT
Saigon airport's new navigation method allows more flights per hour
Airports at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by AFP/File.
HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat airport has installed a new navigation method that allows 54 flights to operate per hour instead of the earlier 44.

The Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) on Thursday began using the area navigation RNAV, or Area Navigation, which permits the operation of an aircraft on any desired flight path and its position to be continuously determined wherever it is rather than only along tracks between individual ground navigation aids.

RNAV is enabled through the use of a navigation computer. Waypoints are loaded into the computer either manually or automatically with an integrated database.

The flight crew then creates a route as a series of waypoints in accordance with the flight plan. The computer estimates the aircraft position using the fitted navigation sensors and compares the estimation to the defined route.

Deviation between the estimated position and the defined path creates guidance information.

The move allows the airport's air traffic control to control more flights at a time.

"This is an important method to allow Tan Son Nhat to handle the traffic jam both on the ground and in the air that it has been facing for a while," said a spokesperson of the air traffic management firm.

Vietnam's biggest airport handles 700 flights per day.

Due to the traffic and slightly outdated air traffic control systems, delays were a constant problem.

The new system has been acquired through a tie-up between VATM and NAVBLUE, Airbus's flight operations software subsidiary.

The collaboration seeks to improve the safety, capacity and efficiency of Tan Son Nhat by redesigning flight methods and airspace.

Tan Son Nhat served 38.5 million passengers last year against its projected capacity of 25 million by 2020.

Plans have been made to expand the airport by building a third terminal.

The work has been designated by the government as urgent to resolve congestion both in the air and on the ground. The Ministry of Transport is overseeing it.

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