Published on March 22nd, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer


EGNOS Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) Safety of Life (SoL) Service is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Since it was declared operational in March 2011, the EGNOS SoL Service has been supporting civil aviation operations down to LPV (Localiser Performance with Vertical guidance) minima at airports across Europe.

The EGNOS SoL Service consists of timing and positioning signals intended for most transport applications in domains where lives could be endangered if the performance of the navigation system is degraded below specific accuracy limits. The SoL service is based on integrity data provided through the EGNOS satellite signals. With over 700 EGNOS-based procedures at 367 airports and helipads, the system increases safety, accessibility and efficiency for operators and pilots approaching airports and helipads in Europe. Accessible airports equal more commercial opportunities for airlines and new routes at a regional and international level, with minimum costs for ground infrastructure and its maintenance.

Currently, only the aviation sector has developed the certification and individual authorisation procedures, and implemented the specific service requirements, needed to use the SoL Service. Organisations implementing EGNOS-based procedures include air navigation service providers (ANSP), aerodrome operators and rotorcraft operators.  However, the SoL Service is also intended to support applications in a wide range of other domains such as maritime, rail and road.

Approaches to LPV minima are currently available in Dublin and Cork with Kerry, Shannon, Knock and Donegal planning to be operational before year end. Sligo, Waterford and Baldonnel are also planning to publish these approaches in the future.

“Since its launch in 2011, the EGNOS Safety of Life Service has been making the aviation sector safer and more efficient for European operators. Apart from the increased safety, it has made remote airports more accessible and is helping to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of aviation. As uptake increases, these benefits will be increasingly felt in other safety critical sectors also, such as maritime or rail” said GSA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa.

The most obvious environmental impact of aviation is CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. With the aim of contributing to a “clean sky”, a methodology has been defined for air operators to calculate the reduction of CO2 emissions thanks to EGNOS-enabled LPV approaches.

Two main sources of fuel savings have been identified the first being related to the airport approach. Today, many airports require airplanes to make their approach step by step, levelling off at each stage and thus burning more fuel. EGNOS enables smooth and continuous descent approaches that are more fuel efficient. The second is the avoidance of go-arounds due poor visibility in EGNOS capable airports thanks to the lower decision height, down to 200 feet – equivalent CAT1 ILS Minima. Minimizing diversions equals less fuel consumption, a win-win solution for both the environment and the airlines. By 2025, 80,000 flight delays and 20,000 diversions will be avoided across Europe thanks to the contribution of EGNOS to the landing procedure of EGNOS-equipped airports.

Navigation operations based on the EGNOS SoL Service may require specific authorisation issued by the relevant authority. In the EU, the requirements governing the implementation of an EGNOS-based procedure are set down in the Single European Sky (SES) Regulation, and all related EU regulatory provisions applicable to the implementation of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) operations.


The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s regional satellite based augmentation system (SBAS). It is used to improve the performance of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), such as GPS and Galileo. It has been deployed to provide navigation services to aviation, maritime and land-based users over Europe.

EGNOS uses GNSS measurements taken by accurately located reference stations deployed across Europe. All measured GNSS errors are transferred to a central computing centre, where differential corrections and integrity messages are calculated. These calculations are then broadcast over the covered area using geostationary satellites that serve as an augmentation, or overlay, to the original GNSS message.

As a result, EGNOS improves the accuracy and reliability of GNSS positioning information, while also providing a crucial integrity message regarding the continuity and availability of a signal.

In addition, EGNOS also transmits a highly accurate universal time signal. EGNOS is part of a developing multi-modal inter-regional SBAS service, able to support a wide spectrum of applications in many different user communities, such as aviation, maritime, rail, road, agriculture, geomatics.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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