Southwest Airlines Applauds Important Next-Generation Milestone

Southwest Airlines Applauds Important Next-Generation Milestone at Denver International Airport

Dallas, March 3, 2016: Southwest Airlines Co. applauds the milestone of 30,000 RNP approaches flown into Denver International Airport. Southwest®, a nationally recognized advocate in RNP implementation, is working alongside the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), airport administrators, and industry stakeholders to develop and implement fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly RNP procedures for wide scale usage at airports across the nation.

RNP procedures are high-performance, GPS-based, continuous-descent approaches that enhance safety, provide greater fuel efficiency, and reduce track miles with lower carbon emission (CO2) and noise generation, compared to conventional procedures. RNP approaches can reduce flying by 3-5 miles during visual approaches and by up to 20 miles during instrument approaches at DEN.  These flights follow highly predictable paths to allow descents at idle power from high altitude cruise, producing the quietest and most fuel-efficient arrival.

“Southwest remains committed in supporting the FAA’s efforts to develop RNP procedures, which benefit the industry as a whole, as well as the communities we serve,” said Alan Kasher, Vice President Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines. “The success of this program could not have been possible without coordinated support and the leadership of Denver Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center, and Denver International Airport.”

This remarkable milestone makes Denver the most prolific promoter of RNP in the national airspace system. Denver stands out among 152 runways at 46 airports where Southwest Airlines has collaborated with the industry and the FAA, and progress at DEN represents a good case study of how the FAA, airlines, and local stakeholders can work together to move Next Generation Airspace (NextGen) forward.   In the past ten years in DEN, Southwest has grown from 13 flights a day serving three cities nonstop to 186 flights a day to 57 cities nonstop and now carries more local passengers to/from Colorado than any other airline.

“When Denver International Airport opened in 1995, it was the first airport to achieve a triple-simultaneous landing in bad weather, representing the height of airport design and technology at the time,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “Today, we once again find ourselves helping to transform the national airspace through innovative new technology that is catching up to the capabilities DEN was designed for. These new arrival procedures truly represent the leading edge of aviation technology, and Denver is positioned to be a model for airports around the country and the world.”

“Cooperation between carriers and the FAA is vital for the success of NextGen across the system,” Kasher said. “Southwest looks forward to continued partnerships with the FAA, its industry partners, and airport administrators as we work together toward a modernized air traffic control system.”

Southwest Airlines

Source: Southwest Airlines Co.