New landing system at Dublin Airport may reduce delays


The Irish Aviation Authority has introduced a new system of sequences for aircraft landing at Dublin Airport that could save airlines fuel and reduce passenger delays.

Point Merge uses new air traffic management techniques to assist pilots in flying more environmentally friendly, continuous descent approaches to the airport. Continuous descent approaches permit the aircraft to reduce their fuel burn by up to 250kg a flight, depending on the aircraft size.

The new system at Dublin will greatly reduce the need to put aircraft into traditional holding patterns, thereby providing environmental benefits by cutting fuel burn and CO2 emissions, as well as reducing delays to passengers.

Rather than using traditional “race track pattern” holding stacks, Point Merge places arriving aircraft on to defined arcs or tracks, every point of which is equidistant from the runway.

From these arcs, aircraft make one single turn and fly a continuous descent to the runway. Overall track miles flown by the aircraft and inefficient manoeuvring at low levels are reduced.

Point Merge is a component part of the Dublin Terminal Area 2012 Project, which involves several other measures that work together to enhance the efficiency of the airspace surrounding Dublin Airport.

Additionally, a new air route for traffic departing from Dublin will help reduce air traffic congestion, particularly during the busy morning period.

According to the authority: “The reorganisation of Dublin’s air traffic control [ATC] sectors will further enhance ATC efficiency, helping to maintain the IAA’s position as one of the lowest cost providers of terminal air traffic management services in Europe.”

The project is the result of more than two years of intensive research and development by an aviation authority project team in conjunction with Eurocontrol and supported by civil and military partners.

The authority’s director of operations, Peter Kearney, said: “TMA 2012 is part of the Irish Aviation Authority’s continuing strategy to develop innovative new air traffic management solutions to provide safe, efficient and cost-effective services to our airline partners.”