Recently, the Airports Authority of India successfully conducted flight trials using GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation) based LPV (Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance) approach Procedure at Kishangarh Airport, Rajasthan. The successful completion of the trial is a great achievement and a big milestone in the field of Air Navigation Services (ANS) in the Indian Civil Aviation Sector’s history. With this, India has become the first country in Asia Pacific Region to achieve such a landmark. LPV allows aircraft guided approaches that are operationally almost equivalent to Cat-IILS, without the requirement for ground-based navigational infrastructure. The service, according to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, relies on the availability of GPS and GAGAN Geo Stationary Satellites (GSAT-8, GSAT-10, GSAT-15), launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Jointly developed by AAI and ISRO, GAGAN is an Indian Satellite Based Augmentation System, which was certified by DGCA in the year 2015 for Approach with Vertical Guidance (APV 1) and en-route (RNP 0.1) operations. The Airlines- Indigo using its ATR aircraft has flown an IAP with LPV minima of 250 feet, using GAGAN Service. The ministry said the trials were performed as part of initial GAGAN LPV flight trials along with a team of DGCA on-board. After DGCA’s final approval, the procedure will be available for the usage of commercial flights. A Satellite Based Procedure, LPV has been used by the aircraft for landing purposes at Kishangarh Airport. According to the ministry, with LPV approaches, it would be possible to land at airports that are not equipped with expensive Instrument Landing Systems, which include various small regional and local airports.
Many airports including the ones under Regional Connectivity Scheme are being surveyed for the development of GAGAN-based LPV Instrument Approach Procedures. This is being done so that suitably equipped aircraft can derive maximum benefit in terms of improved safety during landing, reduction in delays, diversions and cancellations, reduction in fuel consumption, etc. In coordination with INCOIS, AAI has implemented the GAGAN Message Service (GMS) through which alert messages to fishermen, formers, and disaster-affected people will be sent on the occurrence of natural disasters, calamities like earthquake, flood, etc. Besides, GAGAN’s additional capabilities are being explored to utilize it in non-aviation fields such as Railways, Agriculture, Surveying, Mining, Power sector, etc.