The Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo became the first airline to land its aircraft using the space-based air navigation system GAGAN.
On April 28, 2022, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) announced that IndiGo ATR 72-600 twin-engine turboprop, registered VT-IXW, performed a flight trial during which the plane tested GAGAN, the indigenously developed air navigation service, which provides lateral and vertical guidance when the plane is approaching a runway for landing.
The flight test took place at the regional Kishangarh Airport (KQH), in Rajasthan, India, IndiGo wrote in its statement on social media. “For the first time in the history of the Indian aviation industry, IndiGo has successfully completed an LPV (Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance) approach on its ATR aircraft using the indigenous Gagan Satellite to land at Kishangarh Airport,” IndiGo’s statement reads.
The airline believes that the technology could help Indian air carriers to reduce flight delays, cut fuel costs as well as improve flight safety.
On the official AAI website, the Indian authority explains that, GAGAN is designed to “provide the additional accuracy, availability, and integrity necessary to enable users to rely on GPS for all phases of flight from en route through approach for all qualified airports within the GAGAN service volume.”
The statement continues: “GAGAN will also provide the capability for increased accuracy in position reporting, allowing for more uniform and high-quality Air Traffic Management (ATM).”
GAGAN is intended to assist other modes of transportation, namely sea, rail or road. The government-backed $100 million worth project, jointly developed by AAI and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was launched in 2011.