Airbus has delivered the first Airbus A320neo aircraft equipped with the latest Satellite-Based Landing System (SLS) technology.

SLS enables pilots to perform ‘straight-in’ approaches using satellite precision when coming into land at airports, without the need for additional ground-based systems such as an ILS [instrument landing system], including in low-visibility conditions.

Improved operational capabilities

Airbus said easyJet was to be the first recipient of the A320 fitted with the new technology, which will save fuel and reduce emissions.

“By using SLS, airlines benefit from improved operational capabilities and operational efficiency,” says Philippe Mhun, Airbus Head of Programmes and Services. “We are very pleased to offer this new Air Traffic Management capability now on the A320 Family, which demonstrates how Airbus is keeping its aircraft at the cutting-edge of technology.”

He added: “The introduction of satellite based technologies highlights the benefit of Airbus’ cross-divisional collaboration. With Airbus Defence and Space being one of the world leaders in satellite technology, we take advantage of this expertise and apply it to commercial aviation. We are grateful for the excellent support provided by the EUSPA and the European Commission.”

Reducing fuel usage

David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations at easyJet, said: “We are excited about this latest technological development as it represents another step towards further improvement of the efficiency of our operations while helping us to reduce fuel usage and therefore tackle our carbon emissions.

“We believe that modernising the aviation sector is a crucial goal requiring the joint and coordinated effort of the entire industry. We are committed to support the development of new technologies, together with our partners across the industry, allowing us to operate in the most efficient and technologically-advanced way possible for the safety of our customers and the protection of our planet.”

SLS with A350

SLS first entered service in Europe with the A350 in 2015 after Airbus had successfully pioneered its development and introduction for CAT1 approaches with support of the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) – formerly known as the GSA – and the European Commission.

An SLS function is also available on A220 and A330 aircraft families and is in progress for the A380.

Airbus is also developing the new generation of EGNOS, the European Satellite Based Augmentation System.

“Airbus is engaged and committed to the delivery of the next version of the programme by 2027,” stated François Gaullier, Head of Telecom and Navigation at Airbus Defence and Space. “SLS users will seamlessly benefit from the increase in performance as the service becomes available at additional European destinations.”

Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter