A Qatar Airways-flown A320 has made this carrier the world’s first to operate an aircraft into the Nepalese capital’s Tribhuvan International Airport within the Himalayan mountain range using a new navigation approach.
The milestone flight took place with the Doha-based airline’s A320 performing an RNP-AR (Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required) approach to landing. RNP-AR enables an aircraft to automatically fly accurate trajectories without relying on ground-based navigation aids, while also optimising airspace utilisation and reducing diversions in difficult weather conditions.
Located in Kathmandu, Tribhuvan International Airport has one of the world’s most complicated landing approaches due to surrounding challenging terrain at its location in the Himalayas. Flying an RNP-AR approach considerably reduces pilots’ workload and allows them to take full benefit of the advanced navigation equipment installed in the Airbus A320 to easily circumnavigate difficult terrain.
Qatar Airways partnered with Quovadis, the Airbus-owned flight operations services company, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to design and implement the Kathmandu RNP-AR procedure.
Yannick Malinge, Airbus’ Senior Vice President and Chief Product Safety Officer, recognised Qatar Airways on the achievement.
“Airbus always promotes and supports initiatives contributing to improving safety. New technological capabilities like RNP allow aircraft to improve descent trajectory and reduce non-stabilized approaches,” Malinge explained. “Airbus would like to congratulate Qatar Airways and Nepal Authorities for the outstanding results achieved for this RNP-AR project in Kathmandu and we are delighted to have contributed to this major milestone.”
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said safety was the top priority for the airline. “We pride ourselves on adopting the latest technology across our fleet and operation to ensure we maintain our high standards, vital for any business of our nature,” he added.