Smart Tracking offers a number of benefits to the aviation industry and the community as air travel continues to grow.
Smart Tracking delivers safety benefits through high precision navigation. It ensures aircraft fly consistently within a narrow and defined ‘tunnel’ in the sky, resulting in increased situational awareness and predictability for both pilots and air traffic controllers.
The system also reduces pilot and air traffic controller workload as the sophisticated navigation system simplifies the physical work of flying an aircraft.
This means pilots are able to concentrate on managing the flight’s overall performance. Among other features, Smart Tracking alerts the crew at the first sign of any deviation from the aircraft’s precisely planned path.
As more Australian airports implement Smart Tracking and air traffic continues to grow, the standardisation of arrival and departure routes between airports will also improve safety.
Smart Tracking offers significant environmental benefits, including the reduction of carbon emissions by reducing the amount of fuel used by aircraft. This is achieved by aircraft gliding to the runway under minimal power and avoiding long, straight-in approaches.
Further fuel savings can be achieved when flight paths are shortened or when established paths which can currently only be used during the day and in good weather remain available at all times using Smart Tracking.
It is estimated that Smart Tracking-assisted landings at our largest airports would initially achieve savings of 35,000 tonnes of fuel and 115,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (C0₂) per year.
This is the equivalent of taking more than 28,000 cars off the road or eliminating the C02 emissions of 8,200 families. As aircraft traffic at Australian airports grows these savings would continue to increase.
Because of its effectiveness during periods of low cloud and bad weather, Smart Tracking means fewer arrival and departure delays for passengers, and fewer diversions of arriving flights to other airports.
Aircraft noise outcomes
Several features of Smart Tracking allow for better noise management for communities around airports.
Aircraft arriving at an airport are able to place their engines at idle and glide to the runway, in a procedure known as a continuous descent approach.
Aircraft flaps and landing gear may also be deployed closer to the runway which reduces noise levels even further. While this practice is currently used wherever possible, Smart Tracking means it can be used every time by aircraft fitted with the technology.
In poor weather conditions or at night, aircraft not fitted with Smart Tracking technology can use only a limited selection of all possible arrival and departure paths to and from an airport. Smart Tracking allows aircraft to use a wider selection of routes meaning noise impacts are more equitably shared.
Smart Tracking also offers the potential for flight routes to be designed to traverse water, industrial and non-residential areas as much as possible.