Jetstar has become the first airline to operate a flight to the Sunshine Coast using the airport’s new Smart Tracking technology.
Smart Tracking, or Required Navigation Performance (RNP), guides aircraft along precise flight paths using flight management systems and satellites.
Unlike conventional satellite navigation systems, RNP keeps aircraft within a tight block of pre-determined airspace allowing pilots to track around ground-based obstacles when visibility is poor or the weather is unfavourable.
Jetstar Chief Pilot Mark Rindfleish said inclement weather around the Sunshine Coast Airport traditionally caused up to 15 flights per year to divert to Brisbane.
“With the introduction of RNP in the Sunshine Coast, local weather will no longer have the impact on Jetstar flights it once did,” Captain Rindfleish said.
“This is great news because we know improved reliability is important to our customers.
“We welcome this move by the Sunshine Coast Airport to join the ranks of major Australian airports in adopting the latest technology.”
The introduction of the RNP system in the Sunshine Coast is also set to help Jetstar reduce fuel consumption.
“RNP flights fly along a more direct flight path, helping to reduce the distance travelled and, in turn, the fuel consumption,” Captain Rindfleish added.
“When flights are forced to divert to Brisbane they use a lot of fuel so any decrease in weather related diversions offers a welcome fuel saving.
“With this technology, we think we’ll save up to a tonne of fuel on flights into the Sunshine Coast that would traditionally be impacted by weather.
“We’re always looking for ways to safely reduce our operating costs as it allows us to pass on lower fares to our customers.”
Jetstar has been using Smart Tracking in Australian airports since early 2011, while other airlines are expected to gradually adopt the new technology.
The Sunshine Coast joins other major Australian ports such as Melbourne, Adelaide, Cairns Gold Coast and Brisbane in benefitting from the use of RNP on Jetstar flights.
Jetstar operates up to 45 return flights a week to the Sunshine Coast from Sydney and Melbourne.
Lead-in one-way fares from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney start at $89 and $125 to Melbourne.
The Jetstar Group is one of Asia Pacific’s fastest growing airline brands with one of the most extensive ranges of destinations in the region. It is made up of Jetstar Airways (subsidiary of the Qantas Group) in Australia and New Zealand, Jetstar Asia in Singapore, Jetstar Pacific in Vietnam, and Jetstar Japan in Japan. Jetstar branded carriers operate up to 4,200 flights a week to more than 75 destinations. The Jetstar Group carried more than 34 million passengers in financial year 2016.