PORTLAND, Ore. -- Alaska Airlines announced Monday it is the first air carrier to use Required Navigation Performance (RNP) precision approach technology to land aircraft at Portland International Airport.
By using these more direct RNP-guided approaches, Alaska Airlines will shorten flight times for Portland-bound flights and reduce fuel consumption.
RNP technology provides computer-plotted landing paths with pinpoint accuracy by using a combination of onboard navigation technology and the Global Positioning System satellite network. It allows aircraft to fly safer, more reliable landings, and reduces reliance on ground-based navigation aids.
"Ten years after we pioneered the use of RNP technology at rural Alaskan airports, we're proud to bring it to Portland along with a growing number of other metropolitan airports," said Ben Forrest, Alaska's vice president of flight operations. "This innovative technology brings benefits to passengers and the airline alike, by shortening flight times, providing additional flight safeguards and reducing the consumption of fuel."
Alaska pioneered the use of RNP technology during the mid-1990s to help aircraft land at some of the world's most remote and geographically challenging airports in the state of Alaska. Since 1996, the airline has introduced RNP procedures at airports throughout the state of Alaska as well as in Washington, D.C.; San Francisco and Palm Springs, Calif.
Recognizing the safety and environmental advantages of RNP, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced an initiative in 2005 to make the procedures available to a broader group of qualified airlines at airports across the country. In September 2005, Alaska Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to fly the FAA's inaugural public RNP approach procedure into Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.
At Portland International Airport, RNP-guided approaches save about two minutes and 28 gallons of fuel per arrival. Alaska Airlines began flying RNP-guided landings March 8 to both of Portland International Airport's two runways. Alaska's sister carrier, Horizon Air, plans to implement RNP-guided approaches in Portland in the near future.
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