For Immediate Release

Release No. APA 14-03
May 1, 2003
Contact: Tammy Jones
Phone: 202-267-3883

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with a satellite landing system that will improve aircraft safety during airport approaches and landings. The agency today awarded the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS) contract to Honeywell International, Inc. of Minneapolis, MN.

LAAS represents FAA’s continued transition from a ground-based navigation system to one that integrates aircraft performance and satellite technology, said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey.

The contract has three phases. The first phase, valued at $16.7 million, provides for the software and hardware design of the Category I LAAS. Phase II and III contract options, which total an additional $340 million, cover the development and production of the Category I system. Category I precision landing provides a level of service in poor weather conditions down to a ceiling of 200 ft. and visibility of one-half mile.

The contract, originally scheduled for an award last September, was restructured to minimize program financial and technical risks by separating the design and development phases.

If the Phase II option of the contract is exercised, the first Category I LAAS will be installed at Chicago O’Hare; Houston Intercontinental; Juneau, AK; Memphis, TN; Phoenix; and Seattle airports. The first system is scheduled to be operational by late 2006.

LAAS is a satellite navigation landing system that enables pilots to guide planes safely into busy airports in bad weather. LAAS will significantly enhance the safety and efficiency of air travel by increasing the accuracy, availability, continuity and integrity of the information received from the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation of satellites, said Blakey.

LAAS is expected to provide a significant improvement in aircraft and airport operations. Benefits of the LAAS include:

  • A single LAAS will provide precision landing service for most runways at an airport.
  • Approaches that will avoid obstacles, restricted airspace, noise sensitive areas, or congested airspace can be transmitted directly to each equipped aircraft.
  • LAAS can be installed at some airports where conventional landing systems cannot be used because of space or radio frequency spectrum constraints.