ENAIRE improves operations at San Sebastian Airport with satellite manoeuvres


ENAIRE improves the accessibility of the San Sebastian Airport by implementing new procedures based on satellite navigation for departures and arrivals.

Since these procedures do not depend on ground-based navaids, they provide a highly useful solution as an alternative to the current, conventional approaches, especially when the existing facilities are out of order or during maintenance. To carry out these procedures based on the use of satellite navigation, aircraft need to be properly equipped and their crews trained on its use.

The new satellite-based approach manoeuvres are particularly noteworthy for the following reasons:

  • For the first time, vertical guided manoeuvres are available for the 22 threshold. This improvement will make the airport more accessible and enhance operational safety with respect to the current conventional procedures
  • At threshold 04, there are currently no instrument approaches, so the new manoeuvre will allow aircraft to make an approach to the runway threshold even if visibility conditions at the airport are not optimal

Moreover, the new satellite-based arrival and departure procedures increase the flexibility of operations by offering new options for flying into and out of the airport.

These new procedures at San Sebastián are in addition to those already implemented at the airports of Santander, Almería, Valencia, Fuerteventura, Palma de Mallorca, Lanzarote, Vigo and A Coruña. In addition, the Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport has a satellite-based ground augmentation system called GBAS, and procedures for precision operations based on this system.

These new approach procedures based on satellite navigation will help continue to move forward in meeting the requirements of the Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) Implementation Plan, laid out in ENAIRE’s 2025 Flight Plan. It also assists in complying with European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1048, the aim of which is to improve the efficiency of air traffic management at the European level by implementing performance-based navigation (PBN).

To allow airlines to land and take off using this new method, ENAIRE has conducted the necessary safety studies, which were approved by the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA).

Through this effort, ENAIRE is making available to users of the San Sebastián Airport satellite-based arrivals, departures and approaches, which improve the safety and consistency of operations at the airport. This is all possible without having to set up additional land infrastructure, which represents financial savings and operational benefits as a result.