SWISS performs first satellite-supported precision landing


On 14 October a SWISS Airbus A320 became the first aircraft to use satellite-supported technology on landing at Zurich Airport. This new landing procedure allows aircraft to make a precise GPS-landing even in poor weather. The Airbus A320 is one of two SWISS aircraft to be equipped with the new technology.

SWISS is collaborating together with Zurich Airport and Skyguide and further companies from across Europe’s airline industry on a broad-based programme of modernisation and efficiency improvement in air transport (SESAR – Single European Sky ATM Research). This scheme includes the further advancement of flight navigation through the use of state-of-the-art, satellite-supported navigation technology.

First landing with SWISS Airbus A320

Within this context, the first landing at Zurich Airport to be performed with GBAS (Ground Based Augmentation System) took place on Tuesday, 14 October. The SWISS Airbus A320 (registration HB-JLT) operating flight LX319 touched down on runway 14 exactly at 2:51pm. The Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation (BAZL) had earlier issued SWISS a one-time permit for the new landing procedure ahead of it being given the green light for regular flight operations at Zurich Airport commencing 16 October.

SWISS is investing in new technology

GBAS technology is based on the augmentation of a GPS signal by a ground-based transmitter. The technology enables the performance of GPS precision landings with a minimum visibility of 550 metres. At a later stage, automatic landings with an even lower range of visibility will be possible.

SWISS will install the new technology on two of its Airbus aircraft: A320 HB-JLT and A321 HB-ION. In taking this step, SWISS confirms its determination to be at the vanguard of technological development. Other aircraft have already been prepared for installation of the new technology. However, a full modification of the fleet will take place only when satellite-supported landings are possible at the majority of airports in the SWISS route network.