Precise positioning services in the Aviation sector (2013)


The purpose of this report is to provide an understanding of the economic and social benefits of precise positioning information within the aviation sector to enable better informed decision-making and assist in identifying areas for growth and investment from both the private sector and government. It also provides context to the National Positioning Infrastructure Plan being developed by Geoscience Australia.

Commercial aircraft generally operate with more comprehensive navigation instruments including Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), barometric systems as well as augmented GNSS. Non precision approaches rely on GNSS for lateral guidance. All aviation certified GNSS receivers must have Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) which is augmented with signals from static monitors to confirm the integrity of the GNSS for use by aircraft.

Geographical scope


Non-quantified impacts

Further augmentation is possible from Ground Based Augmentation Systems (GBAS) and Space Based Augmentation Systems (GBAS). GBAS could theoretically replace existing ILS infrastructure at major airports for precision approaches. Precision approaches increase the safety and utilisation of airports in bad weather and thereby increase their operating capacity. They also reduce costs of lost time and fuel from diversions and delays caused by bad weather.

Quantifiable impacts

Navigation with Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) enabled GNSS has delivered some benefits in terms of the ability for aircraft to fly user preferred routes which reduces fuel use and costs. In Australia it could allow the number of terrestrial navigation aids to be reduced. There is potential to reduce the number of terrestrial aides on regional routes after 2016 by not replacing them at the end of their operating life. The capital costs avoided would be around AUD 119 million.

GBAS, along with other navigation systems that provide vertical guidance, reduce the fuel used in airport approaches. This is estimated to be of the order of AUD 36 million per year if savings at all major airports are be included.


  • ACIL Allen estimated the savings to regional and major airlines could be in the order of AUD 10 million per year in fuel savings compared to capital costs estimates that have ranged between around AUD 300 million to as high as AUD 1 billion
  • Investment in an Australian SBAS carries with it a funding issue. Estimates of the cost of an SBAS for Australia range between AUD 300 million and AUD 1 billion


For information on this report see following link:


Study type

Case studies: Sydney airport and Melbourne airport

Economy sector

Infrastructure (Transport)