Aerocivil pursues golden vision for El Dorado

03 August 2018
Before they adopted PBN, Aerocivil controllers faced severe airspace and runway capacity limitations when handling traffic around El Dorado. Source: NAVBLUE

Performance-based navigation and other ATM improvements have helped to alleviate congestion and boost efficiency at the Colombian gateway

Colombian air navigation service provider (ANSP) Aerocivil reports positive results after applying performance-based navigation (PBN) for inbound and outbound traffic at Bogotá El Dorado International Airport.

Designed by Airbus company NAVBLUE in co-operation with Aerocivil and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the PBN procedures were launched in October 2017.

Speaking to Jane’s , NAVBLUE head of bespoke solutions and managing director France, Thomas Lagaillarde, said the procedures have already raised capacity at the two-runway airport. Runway 31 can now handle 68 aircraft movements per hour, compared with 30 before PBN, while Runway 13 can handle 93 aircraft movements per hour, compared with 72 before.

As the main aviation gateway to Colombia, El Dorado has had to cope with strong passenger traffic growth in recent years (30.99 million in 2017 compared with 18.9 million in 2010), and it also handles most air cargo shipments in the country. A third runway is not feasible at the moment, so air traffic management (ATM) system investment is essential to drive capacity and efficiency improvements.

Project aims

The project agreement in 2015 between Aerocivil, IATA, and NAVBLUE included six major objectives:

• Introduce PBN

• Reduce aircraft separations within the Bogotá Terminal Manoeuvring Area (TMA)

• Provide independent and simultaneous parallel runway operations

• Increase efficiency of airport surface operations

• Update regulations and operations manuals

• Improve controller skills with theoretical and on-the-job controller training

The underlying aim for Aerocivil was to help El Dorado to handle more flights without the need for expensive and extensive airport infrastructure investment. The airport “had been struggling with growth” in recent years as delays worsened, said Lagaillarde.

NAVBLUE redesigned airspace sectors covering the mountainous terrain around El Dorado, so that their size and location matched the volume of air traffic.

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