SAA becomes first Airbus A330 operator to receive FAA approval for RNP

South African Airways (SAA) has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate Required Navigation Procedures – Authorization Required (RNP AR) procedures in the USA with their long-haul Airbus A330 fleet. The airline is the first A330 operator to receive this approval in the USA.

The approval grants authorisation to all public RNP AR procedures in the US, as well as the more challenging approaches into New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The curved approaches into JFK are specially designed to avoid the highly populated communities of the New York area – reducing noise impact, while increasing access to the busy landing runways.

A great benefit of these procedures is the significant reduction of workload for flight crews, as the aircraft is fully guided by its automatic flight system during RNP AR approaches.

Captain Sandy Bayne, SAA Head of Flight Operations, said: “Introducing RNP AR approaches to JFK will make it easier and safer for our pilots to operate these challenging approaches on arrival of our long-haul flights from Johannesburg. It is a great enhancement to our operations in the USA and we’re proud to be the first Airbus A330 carrier to receive approval.”

Airbus ProSky supported SAA in getting this approval, collaborating closely with the FAA to demonstrate SAA’s compliance to the stringent aircraft and operating requirements.

Don-Jacques Ould-Ferhat, Head of Operations at Airbus ProSky, said: “We’re very proud of building a successful partnership with SAA and the FAA on implementing advanced PBN technologies. After Airbus Prosky supported SAA to become the first Airbus operator of RNP AR on the African continent a couple of years ago, today is another landmark for SAA in advanced technologies on their Airbus long-haul fleet. SAA is now the first Airbus A330 operator flying RNP AR approaches in the USA.”

The FAA said it continues to welcome opportunities for capable operators to enjoy the safety and efficiency benefits of NextGen operations, such as RNP AR approach procedures.

SAA has also been granted approval to conduct RNAV Visual approaches to JFK with both its A330 and A340 fleets. RNAV Visual approaches have similar benefits as RNP AR approaches, with less demanding aircraft and aircrew requirements, but can only be operated in fair weather conditions.


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