Qatar Airways conducts industry first flight into airport with challenging terrain using new technology
- Qatar: Sunday, January 20 - 2013 at 15:58
- PRESS RELEASE
Qatar Airways has achieved another aviation industry milestone by becoming the first airline in the world to operate an aircraft with a new navigational approach into Nepal utilising the latest aircraft technology.
Locked in the Himalayan mountain range, Kathmandu has one of the world's most complicated approaches due to the surrounding challenging terrain.
Flying an RNP AR approach into Tribhuvan International Airport reduces pilots' workload considerably and allows them to take full benefit of the advanced navigation equipment installed in aircraft to easily circumnavigate difficult terrain.
With a smooth descent and fully stabilised approach, it leads to significant safety improvements and reduces the required visibility compared with current standard flying procedures.
The RNP AR procedure allows aircraft to automatically fly accurate trajectories without relying on ground-based navigation aids, optimises airspace utilisation and reduces diversions in difficult weather conditions.
Doha-based Qatar Airways continues to invest in enhancing safety of its flights through the installation of the latest aircraft equipment which assist pilots to make approaches into, and departures from, airports categorised as very difficult with higher precision and accuracy.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said safety was the number one priority for the airline.
"We pride ourselves on adopting the latest technology across our fleet and operation to ensure we maintain our high standards, vital for any business of our nature," he said. "The airline takes all necessary steps possible to enhance safety measures throughout our operation without hesitation, whether in the air or on the ground. The new safety procedures adopted on our aircraft significantly enhance navigation procedures and make it an overall improved flying experience for our crew."
Working closely with key industry associates, Qatar Airways has partnered with the French procedures designer QUOVADIS, an Airbus owned company, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to design and implement the Kathmandu RNP AR procedure.
Airbus Senior Vice President & Chief Product Safety Officer Yannick Malinge said: "Airbus always promotes and supports initiatives contributing to improving safety. New technological capabilities like RNP allow aircraft to improve descent trajectory and reduce non-stabilised approaches. These two criteria are essential when operating in a complicated environment like Nepal's airspace, in particular the Kathmandu aproach. Airbus would like to congratulate Qatar Airways and the Nepalese authorities for the outstanding results achieved for this RNP-AR project in Kathmandu and we are delighted to have contributed to this major milestone."
Director General of Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority, T.R. Manandhar said the RNP AR approach procedure was introduced to find a solution to the current difficulties of high terrain, adding the authority now expected other airline operators to adopt the new procedure attracting them to fly into Kathmandu.
"There was excellent coordination between us at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Quovadis and Qatar Airways to fulfill and succeed in this key venture to which I would like to thank all concerned, including air traffic controllers in Kathmandu for their invaluable contribution," he said.
Qatar Airways currently operates four flights a day between its Doha hub and Kathmandu, one of the carrier's most popular routes.
Added Al Baker: "Qatar Airways was one of the first international airlines to start flying to Kathmandu more than 10 years ago. We have developed our operations steadily on the route from daily to four flights each day clearly demonstrating this is an important and safe market to fly into."
Qatar Airways was the first airline in the world to pass the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit with a maximum 100% compliance in 2003 and passed the test again during the two-year renewal period in 2005, 2007, 2009, and in June 2011.
The audit was set up to standardise and rationalise a number of safety and security procedures carried out by individual airlines for the purpose of codesharing. Qatar Airways was assessed on flight and ground operations, aircraft engineering, maintenance, operational security, cabin operations and management systems.
One of the world's fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 118 aircraft to 123 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas with the aggressive expansion continuing into 2013.
Over the next few weeks and months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Najaf, Iraq (January 23); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); Chengdu, China (March 19); Chicago, USA (April 10); and Salalah, Oman (May 22).
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