Lower noise levels and better landing capacity

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Lower noise levels and better landing capacity during high winds at Schiphol due to innovation

With recently introduced innovations Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) improves capacity for aircraft landing at Schiphol Airport during high wind conditions. When local conditions at the airport involve higher wind speeds, 3 to 6 more aircraft per hour can land per runway. This is possible by applying new European guidelines for aircraft classification based on ‘wake turbulence categories’ (RECAT) and separation between successive aircraft based on time rather than distance (TBS).  


'LVNL is the third air traffic control organisation in the world to apply these innovations in practice,' says Michiel van Dorst, LVNL CEO. 'By implementing RECAT-TBS, we contribute to improving the residential quality and living environment for people living in the local community by using the most noise sensitive runways less. We also achieve safer and better throughput in landing air traffic flows which results in airlines suffering less from delayed flights during high winds at Schiphol.' 


The introduction of RECAT and TBS at Schiphol leads to better utilisation of take-off and landing runway capacity. In high wind conditions, aircraft lose speed due to the strong headwind. Now air traffic controllers make use of the new system, they can land more aircraft by allowing aircraft to maintain shorter – but equally safe – separation distances. This reduces delays due to strong headwinds. The system uses an indicator displayed on the air traffic controller’s radar screen to indicate the shortest safe time-based separation between two aircraft on final approach.  


LVNL procured RECAT-TBS from the National Air traffic Services (NATS) of the United Kingdom. Over the past years, LVNL has partnered with Think Research and Leidos to adapt the system for use in the operations at Schiphol Airport. Once air traffic controllers had been trained and pilots had been prepared through an information campaign, it was put into operation.    


RECAT and TBS are measures designed to reduce nuisance as part of the noise abatement programme of LVNL and Schiphol. The programme aims to improve residential quality and the living environment in the local community around Schiphol. Read more about noise abatement with RECAT-TBS at MinderHinderSchiphol.nl.  



Graham Emmons (Leidos), Martin Rolfe (NATS), Ruth Clabbers (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) en Michiel van Dorst (CEO LVNL). Photo by Andrew Walkinshaw

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