EASA paves the way for a new approach to performance-based navigation

The Agency modernised the regulatory approach towards operations using performance-based navigation (PBN) specifications. This system allows for a safer, more flexible and environmentally friendly way of navigating the skies.

Whereas currently a specific operational approval is required for almost all PBN operations, the new regulatory approach puts emphasis on pilot training and checking and on proportionate PBN-related operating procedures.

As a consequence, specific operational approvals are only required for some type of approaches, such as for example approaches with curved flight paths in the final approach, as well as specific helicopter operations.

This new regulatory approach is expected to increase safety and to significantly reduce administrative resource needs for air operators and national aviation authorities. The increase in safety results in particular through:

  • mandatory PBN-related training in theoretical knowledge and practical skills;
  • inclusion of PBN operations to the regular mandatory proficiency checks; and
  • new and revised operating requirements.

The regulatory approach of EASA has been the reference for similar regulatory changes by a number of other regulators around the world and by ICAO. The new ICAO rules will be applicable in November later this year.