Delivering smart and safe airport surface operations
SESAR has delivered a number of smart solutions offering airports the means to manage airport surface operations. One example is follow-the-greens, an innovative taxiway lights guidance system that directs aircraft to gates, runways or wherever they need to be on the airfield. Enabled by linking the airfield lighting infrastructure with the taxi route management system, it provides a clear route for flight crews and vehicle drivers to follow, reducing route deviations. The solution is particularly effective at night, in reduced visibility and at airports with complex layouts. The lights are automatically and progressively switched on in segments or individually as the vehicle moves along its assigned route while pilots and vehicle drivers receive a single instruction to ‘follow the greens’ from air traffic control. This SESAR solution is now implemented in Riga and planned for Zurich, Schiphol and Lisbon airports. Another smart solution is the runway status lights (RWSL), a fully automated safety system using ground surveillance radar, which provides crews and vehicle drivers with immediate, accurate and clear indication of the runway occupancy status. It is estimated that between 50% to 70% reduction of the most serious runway incursion occurrences can be expected thanks to this system. Now implemented in Zurich and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports, the solution is part of an ambitious strategy to increase the airport’s runway capacity in full safety.