Intelligent Approach –
Optimising arrivals spacing
Intelligent Approach is an arrivals spacing tool that safely optimises runway capacity in order to increase revenue, improve operational resilience, deliver better on-time performance and reduce CO2 emissions. Its family of functional modules caters to each airport’s unique needs and fully integrates into existing Air Traffic Control systems.
Jointly developed by Leidos, a global technology provider and NATS, the UK’s leading air navigation supplier, Intelligent Approach means air traffic controllers around the world now have the tools to safely optimise arrival spacing in all conditions and for all runway configurations, without the need for expensive changes to ground infrastructure.
The benefits of Intelligent Approach
Intelligent Approach positively impacts the entire airport operation. Its unique capability allows airports to tailor the tool to suit their own challenges providing a more efficient operation.
- Enables choice in how to exploit existing runway and airspace infrastructure whilst increasing available tactical capacity
- Increased resilience and on-time performance means reduced delays and costs and increased passenger satisfaction.
- Reduced fuel burn and emissions through improved predictability and reduced airborne holding
- Increased revenue through additional capacity
- Supports airport growth plans at a fraction of the cost of major capital investment
Award winning technology
The technology has also been recognised in the industry by winning a series of awards including:
- Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Transport Award
- IHS Jane’s ATC Awards, Runway Category
- Single European Sky (SES) Award
The successful implementation of both Time and Distance-Based separation at Heathrow was the first of its kind. Since then, NATS and Leidos have continued to evolve this revolutionary family of functional modules that enable an Intelligent Approach.
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A proven solution
Intelligent Approach has been in continuous operation at Heathrow since March 2015 helping to make its operations more resilient to delay and disruption. Benefits* achieved include:
- Average tactical capacity gain of 2 aircraft landings per hour in all wind conditions
- An improvement of 1.5-2.5% in airport punctuality
- An average saving of over 1,410 seconds per day in arrival separation on final approach – the equivalent to extending Heathrow’s operating day by 23.5 minutes
* Tactical capacity gains quoted are for Heathrow which was already using 6 Wake Categories so may be higher for some airports. Gains are baselined against original distance based separation.