Proven Solution

Minimum disruption, maximum benefit

The adoption of Intelligent Approach requires little or no change to flight deck procedures. Controllers continue to radar-vector aircraft onto final approach using the same techniques and speeds as before.

Intelligent Approach integrates easily with existing systems, including Indra’s ManagAir, with little training as proven with the successful implementations at London Heathrow, Toronto Pearson and Amsterdam Schiphol airports.

When using Time Based Separation (TBS), aircraft may appear closer together on both Radar and Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems during headwind conditions although the actual separation will be constant in terms of time.

It is important that aircraft maintain controller-assigned speeds as accurately as possible in order to deliver the maximum benefit possible from TBS.

A proven solution at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Capacity for aircraft landing at Schiphol Airport during high wind conditions has increased by 3 – 6 additional aircraft per hour, per runway. That’s an enormous benefit that’s going to make a real difference in terms of on-time performance and the noise impact for local residents, and it’s been achieved without the need for any new equipment or infrastructure at the airport itself.

Intelligent Approach allows air traffic controllers to improve the consistency of spacing between arriving aircraft. This helps to maximise runway capacity, reducing both delays and emissions and, for local residents, the noise impact.

A proven solution at Toronto Pearson Airport

Intelligent Approach went live at Toronto Pearson Airport in 2022. Blake Cushnie, Program Director at NAV CANADA, talks about the deployment and explains the benefits its delivering.

A proven solution at Heathrow Airport

Intelligent Approach is a proven solution developed by NATS and Leidos and has been in continuous operation at Heathrow since March 2015.

Intelligent Approach was further enhanced in March 2018 (enhanced TBS), with Heathrow realising the benefits of adopting the RECAT-EU wake scheme and separation provided to the runway  threshold. These enhancements have helped make the operation even more resilient to delays and disruption.

The first four months of enhanced TBS operations saw a tactical capacity gain of approximately 1.4 additional aircraft landings per-hour in all wind conditions, with an additional 1.6 arrivals in strong headwinds over and above the 0.8 additional landings (2.6 additional in strong winds) already achieved by the original TBS.

That is the equivalent of extending Heathrow’s operating day by 30 minutes, delivering valuable operational resilience that helps ensure the airport can deliver to plan, airlines can keep to their schedules and local communities are not affected by late running arrivals.

Heathrow is capped at 480,000 movements per annum so this additional tactical capacity is all translated into improving on-time performance and a better passenger experience.

Benefits* already achieved include:

  • Average tactical capacity gain of 2 aircraft landings per hour in all wind conditions
  • An improvement of 1.5-2.5% in airport punctuality
  • An average saving of over 1,410 seconds per day in arrival separation on final approach – the equivalent to extending Heathrow’s operating day by 23.5 minutes

* Tactical capacity gains quoted are for Heathrow which was already using 6 Wake Categories so may be higher for some airports. Gains are baselined against original distance based separation.

Video – Intelligent Approach

Find out more about Intelligent Approach in our video below.