Universal Avionics Blog
Subscribe to the UA Blog

Build a Case for an LPV Upgrade [With Free Support From ESSP SAS]

Jun 29, 2017
GUEST BLOGGER – Víctor Álvarez, Service Adoption Expert at ESSP SAS (EGNOS Service Provider)

Victor Álvarez is a Service Adoption Expert within the Service Adoption and User Support Department of the European Satellite Services Provider's (ESSP) Service Provision Unit, located in Madrid, Spain. His role is to promote the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), and its use and applications within civil aviation, and to provide support to users who make use of it (or want to make use of it). This includes operators interested in flying with Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) approaches. Therefore, Victor and his team monitors all European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) LPV Supplemental Type Certifications (STC) and maintains good contact with avionics manufacturers. In addition, his team also supports air managers and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) who implement LPV approaches in their runways and might experience doubts during certain stages of their implementation. To conduct these tasks, they also define and develop technical and market tools to foster EGNOS adoption. This includes, for example, their methodology to compute business cases, which Victor discusses in more detail below.

ESBuild a Case for an LPV Upgrade [With Free Support From ESSP SAS]

LPV Advantages

Adding LPV capabilities to an aircraft improves safety and brings operational advantages such as improved flexibility, repeatability, and accessibility. This last one, accessibility, refers to the capability to land thanks to LPV with respect to the previous situation where the aircraft might divert to an alternate location due to the lack of precision approach navaids at the airport. For aerodromes, putting LPV procedures in place is far cheaper than installing complex ground navigation aids. In addition, one generalised comment among pilots with LPV expertise is that "LPV is much more stable than even the Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach, especially when the aircraft isn't perfectly aligned with the Localizer (LOC)."

Obstacles to Upgrade

However, no matter the type of new communication, navigation, or surveillance capability (data link, ADS-B Out, and LPV are examples), or safety improvement (e.g. Synthetic Vision Systems), to be added on board an aircraft cockpit, operators need to invest a considerable amount of money. Such investments are typically subject to an evaluation process for approval by senior management.

While decision makers are aware and do their best to ensure aviation's first and most important priority, safety, it is reasonable to think that the operator's budget is the second one. Therefore, it is also part of this decision-making process.

How the ESSP SAS Can Help You

ESSP SAS, the EGNOS provider under the auspices of the European GNSS Agency, offers free-of-charge support to European operators wondering whether such an investment could make sense from a financial perspective. By means of a Business Case (BC) tailored to the aircraft's operations, both in numbers of flights and network of destinations, operators are provided with a new argument to be put on the table at the time of deciding.

The Methodology Behind the Case

Over the past years, ESSP SAS has developed a well-defined methodology: the number of diversions occurring with current conventional procedures is compared against the number of diversions occurring in tomorrow's scenario, where LPVs are available. In general, it is necessary to assess the cloud ceiling at the destinations relevant for the analysis, compare them with the minima in place, and compute the savings induced by the disruptions avoided thanks to LPVs. Savings in terms of reduced flight time during initial segments of flight are also taken into account whenever this effect is found relevant too.

With the support and a few inputs provided by the aircraft's operations and maintenance departments, ESSP SAS can build a case and calculate the investment's Net Present Value (NPV), the payback period , and the Internal Rate of Return (IRR); all of which are in accordance to the Standard Inputs for EUROCONTROL Cost-Benefit Analyses. In addition, the study is completed with a sensitivity analysis and the evaluation of alternative scenarios. For instance, to assess the effect of available sources of external funding and the cost sharing with other technologies included as part of the upgrade.

Case Study Outcomes

Finally, it is worth highlighting how the outcomes of these studies tend to back up more and more such upgrades; as the number of European airports with LPV keeps growing and national navaids-infrastructure rationalisation programs are implemented.


If you're an operator which wonders what the numbers would tell in your case, contact ESSP SAS through egnos-adoption@essp-sas.eu.

Leave a comment