• One of the major aims of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS) is to optimise future airspace designs to take account of modern aircraft performance and functional capabilities and make them more efficient – saving time and fuel and reducing emissions. 

    Key to achieving this is through the application of Performance-based Navigation (PBN).  In parallel, the UK navigation infrastructure can also be optimised to take advantage of the lateral navigation accuracy from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) while retaining adequate conventional ground-based navigation aids to ensure both resilience and contingency measures.

    Requirements and scope

    The requirements for PBN, in terms of accuracy, integrity and continuity of service that airborne navigation systems must demonstrate, is set out in international standards – ICAO Doc 9613.

    • PBN is being adopted world-wide and States are expected to modernise airspace through International, Regional and State level initiatives, including regulations.  
    • PBN impacts both the high-level airways and the lower level arrival and departure routes into and out of airports and instrument approach procedures.

    The UK airspace air traffic management structures require modernisation to accommodate the increasing demand for commercial air travel while safely accommodating increasing demands for airspace access from a wide variety of other users.  At the same time, greater considerations must be given to the environmental impact that aviation has on local communities.

    The highly accurate navigation capabilities of modern aircraft, utilising both ground and space-based navigational aids provides an opportunity to address the capacity and efficiency issues of the airspace while making best use of the aircraft navigation capabilities and operators investment.

    PBN provides the basis for future global navigation capability as defined in the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) and defined in the Airspace System Block Upgrade programme (ASBU), with operators keen to utilise the technology available on their aircraft fleets.

    Supporting legislation

    European wide legislation has been developed to drive the deployment of PBN in the European region to meet the ICAO vision:

    SESAR Pilot Common Project (PCP)

    This mandates the deployment of key ATM Functionalities (AF) or technologies through Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 716/2014.

    and 

    Commission Implementing Regulation EU 2018/1048 

    This regulation sets out airspace usage requirements and operating procedures concerning performance-based navigation (also known as the PBN-IR).

    In many instances, the introduction of PBN will not significantly alter the lateral routes flown today under the current ground-based navigation system.   However, the CAA anticipates that, through the introduction of PBN there will changes to better reflect current and planned aircraft performance. 

    All new airspace change proposals are managed through the CAA airspace change process described in CAP 1616.

  • Related Information

    The ICAO PBN Manual (ICAO Doc 9613 Edition 4) consists of two volumes:

    Volume I

    • Part A describes the PBN Concept, its role within the airspace concept and how the PBN Concept is used in practice;
    • Part B provides Implementation Guidance for ANSPs in the form of the processes, phases and steps;
      Attachments describe RNAV and RNP systems, data processes and an outline of the operational approval process. 

    Volume II

    • Part A provides a general introduction to the navigation specifications, including specific guidance on on-board performance monitoring and alerting, safety assessments and navigation service monitoring;

    • Part B contains the RNAV navigation specifications, to be used by States as a basis for certification and operational approval;

    • Part C contains the RNP navigation specifications to be used by States as a basis for certification and operational approval;

    • Attachments describe Barometric VNAV and provide sample airspace concepts based on navigation specifications.

    ICAO Manual on the use of Performance-based Navigation (PBN) in Airspace Design (ICAO Doc 9992 Edition 1)
    Performance-based Navigation (PBN) Operational Approval Manual (ICAO Doc 9997 Edition 2).