New arrivals technology to cut delays, emissions, and noise at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

03 March 2023

The Dutch Air Navigation Service Provider, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), has successfully deployed Intelligent Approach – the world’s only time-based arrival spacing (TBS) tool – at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Developed by NATS and Leidos UK, Intelligent Approach dynamically calculates the optimum time interval between arrivals based on live weather data and the aircraft type. This is then translated into a graphical marker on a controller’s radar screen.

This helps improve an airport’s runway throughput in all weather conditions, but is especially effective during strong headwinds when separating aircraft by traditional fixed distances results in a reduced landing rate and knock-on delays.

Intelligent Approach went live on 26 January following three years of collaboration between LVNL, NATS and Leidos UK, with support from Think Research. This covered everything from simulation and training, through to support with the actual deployment itself.

“We are reflecting on an excellent cooperation with NATS, Leidos and Think Research and a smooth go-live of RECAT-TBS at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol,” said José Daenen, Director Operations at LVNL. “Intelligent Approach will contribute to improve runway capacity utilisation, helping to reduce delays and CO2 emissions. It also enables us to maximise the use of noise abatement preferential runways. This is good news for people living in the surrounding of the airport, as well as for airlines and their passengers.”

Guy Adams, NATS Strategy and Commercial Director, said: “This is another great success for the Intelligent Approach team and the result of excellent collaboration across the board. Intelligent Approach is the only time-based separation product available on the market today and I’m delighted to see it already helping Schiphol get maximum efficiency from its runways and airspace.”

Graham Emmons, VP and Managing Director, Civil, Leidos UK commented: “We are delighted to see that Intelligent Approach is immediately helping LVNL’s Air Traffic Controllers deliver efficiency benefits at Amsterdam Schiphol. Intelligent Approach is now in operation at three of the world’s busiest airports. It is a great example of the development and application of technology to help solve our customers’ most demanding challenges.”

This is the third deployment of Intelligent Approach, following Heathrow in 2015 and Toronto Pearson last summer. Since it was introduced at Heathrow it has cut headwind related delays by 62%.

Work between NATS and Leidos UK to further enhance Intelligent Approach is on-going, with work on a version specifically designed to optimise efficiency at mixed-mode airports well underway.

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