Nav Canada's new Calgary airport navigation system could shorten flight paths

Nav Canada wants to start using new procedures for planes landing at the Calgary airport that could shorten flights and save fuel, but the changes could also result in more air traffic over some parts of the city.

Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedure would increase traffic over some areas, reduce it over others

Nav Canada is proposing to introduce a new satellite-based navigation system designed to shorten flight paths into Calgary. (CBC)

Nav Canada wants to start using new procedures for planes landing at the Calgary airport that could shorten flights and save fuel, but the changes could also result in more air traffic over some parts of the city.

It's called the Required Navigation Performance Procedure (RNP). The satellite-based system will allow pilots to fly more direct flight paths to land at the Calgary airport.

Michelle Bishop with Nav Canada says shorter approach routes will save fuel and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

"That saves about three to four minutes of flying time so that's three to four minutes that that aircraft didn't need to fly over the city," she said.

"There are obviously fuel savings with reducing that number of track miles as well and when aircraft reduce their fuel burn, we reduce the amount of emissions that we're emitting into the environment."

Bishop says the RNP procedures could increase the amount of air traffic in some areas, but it will certainly decrease the volume of it in other areas.

Increased air traffic over some neighbourhoods has already been a concern with the opening of a new four-kilometre north-south runway last year.

Ward 6 Coun. Richard Pootmans wants to know if RNP will help reduce traffic over some of those affected communities.

"It is a concern to a fair number of residents about the noise, so this is something we have to learn more about and find out what the solutions might look like," he said.

The first public information session about the new procedures will be held Wednesday night at Ambrose University College.

See a Nav Can video explaining RNP here. 

Read more about RNP here.

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