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Published on : Wednesday, July 6, 2016
The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) today provided a briefing to the San Francisco Airport Commission regarding new procedures and new technologies designed to improve the airport’s on-time performance. Airport staff also announced plans to host a demonstration of a new Global Positioning System (GPS) landing system in August 2016, offering further on-time gains.
“We have already made significant progress in our efforts to improve the on-time performance of SFO,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “In 2015, we posted our best on-time arrival rate since 2004, during a period of record passenger volumes. The future holds great promise, as a combination of procedures and technology offer greater use of our existing runways than what was previously possible. Ultimately, it’s our customers who will benefit the most from SFO’s improved on-time performance.”
SFO is made up of two sets of parallel intersecting runways, which are separated by only 750 feet. During clear weather conditions, aircraft can land side-by-side at a rate of up to 60 aircraft per hour. However, in periods of low visibility and fog, aircraft were historically required to utilize a single runway for landing, cutting the arrival rate in half to 30 landings per hour. Working with the FAA and airlines, SFO has already benefited from a series of initiatives to improve on-time performance by allowing use of the two runways.
In 2005, SFO launched use of a Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach (SOIA), allowing use of the airport’s two parallel runways during certain types of low visibility conditions. In 2013, SFO launched a new FAA procedure, known as Closely-Spaced Parallel Runways (CSPR), which greatly increased the airport’s ability to use two runways during poor weather. These enhancements allowed SFO to achieve a 75% arrival rate in 2015, a year of record passenger volumes at the airport.
In August 2016, SFO plans to host a demonstration of a new Global Positioning System (GPS) landing system in August 2016. The demonstration, conducted in partnership with Boeing, the FAA, and several airlines, promises new precision approaches into SFO which would result in further reduction in weather-related delays..