Ballina Byron Gateway Airport commissioned Airservices to install Smart Tracking at the airport, and the procedures were implemented in February 2014.
Previously, pilots had to be able to see the runway from an altitude of 660ft (approximately 200m) in order to make a landing at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. This means that in inclement weather conditions, pilots sometimes have to do a ‘go around’ (pull out of the approach, go around in a circle and try again) or divert to another airport. With Smart Tracking, the altitude at which the runway must be seen is just 250ft (approximately 75m), allowing more landings to take place in poor weather.
Airservices developed Smart Tracking arrival flight paths for both Runway 06 and Runway 24. These are close to existing conventional flight paths, so no new residential areas will be over flown. There are also be no significant changes in the heights at which aircraft will fly over residential areas as a result of Smart Tracking. However, it is possible that Smart Tracking, which is a precise navigation technology, will lead to flights being concentrated more along the flight path.
Smart Tracking flight paths
Runway 24 Smart Tracking arrival flight path (shown in green, with current conventional arrival flight path to Runway 06 shown in red)
Runway 06 Smart Tracking arrivals flight paths
Initially, only Jetstar has committed to using Smart Tracking at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, so change in the use of flight paths will be gradual. Over the next few years, other commercial airlines are expected to equip their aircraft and train their crews to use the system, so use of Smart Tracking will increase.