Hallo daar! What a wonderful two days we had last week in the beautiful (if a little damp) city of Amsterdam, for our second annual Intelligent Approach User Group meeting.
Warmly hosted by LVNL in their head office at Schiphol Airport, the the User Group saw our Intelligent Approach customers from NAV CANADA and LVNL join us for a packed two days of workshops, product updates, panel discussions and maybe one or two gevulde koeken!
This was the first User Group where all three airports have been using Intelligent Approach in full operational service, so it was a great chance for us and Leidos UK to hear direct feedback and to share updates on the product development roadmap. We were also thrilled to welcome other guests from around the world, all of whom were keen to hear first-hand how Intelligent Approach might benefit their own operations.
For those that might not know, Intelligent Approach is the arrival spacing tool we developed with Leidos UK. It allows air traffic controllers to improve the consistency of spacing between arriving aircraft and thereby helps to maximise runway capacity, reduce delays, and cut fuel burn.
It went live at Heathrow in 2015 before Toronto followed suit in 2022 and then Schiphol earlier this year. Intelligent Approach can dynamically calculate the optimum time between arrivals based on both the live wind conditions (downlinked direct from each aircraft) and the aircraft size and type. This time-based interval is then translated into a marker on a controller’s radar screen.
By dynamically calculating the spacing between arrivals based on the conditions rather than relying on set distances, Intelligent Approach helps airports to grow the tactical capacity of their runways and improve on-time performance without the need for any new airfield equipment or infrastructure.
When it went live at Schiphol in January, it immediately increased capacity by 3-6 additional aircraft per hour, per runway – a fantastic result. This week we had the chance to meet more of the LVNL controllers and it was wonderful to hear that Intelligent Approach is still making a significant difference 9 months on.
And there is more to come.
We were able to share updates on many of the most requested product updates and features. The NATS and Leidos team spoke about the ongoing work to deliver pairwise separation, something that will allow for much more granular separation standards and unlock even more tactical capacity. We are also working on extending the distance at which the Intelligent Approach separation markers first appear, so controllers can begin optimising the arrival stream earlier, even allowing for curved approaches in systemised airspace. We also shared plans for further enhancements to Intelligent Approach for mixed mode runways.
It really was a valuable couple of days, and I want to extend my enormous thanks to everyone at LVNL for being such fantastic hosts. As a product manager, I’m always delighted to hear how we’re helping our customers achieve their goals, but to have prospective Intelligent Approach users also hear about the positive difference it is making really was something special.
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