Wings Magazine

Thales partners on Microwave Landing System

April 29, 2009, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France – Thales today announced that its Microwave LandingSystem has received UK approval for operations at Heathrow airport.

April 29, 2009  By Carey Fredericks

April 29, 2009, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France – Thales today announced that its Microwave LandingSystem (MLS) – aimed at increasing aircraft efficiency on airport approach – has received UK approval for ground installations to Cat IIIb (low visibility conditions) operations at Heathrow airport.

Thales had already received European certification for its onboard aircraft installations to Cat IIIb (low visibility conditions) operations in November 2007.  British Airways is the first airline worldwide to implement this new system and has been proving the system on its Heathrow Airbus Single Aisle fleet throughout 2008. The new system was fully operational from 25 March 2009 and is the result of intelligent partnerships and significant international joint development between Thales and major industries including Airbus, British Airways and the UK and French national airport and air transport authorities.

100 automatic landings, with Thales’s Microwave Landing System (MLS) functioning on boththe ground and onboard the aircraft, were required to gain official UK approval andcertification for the system. British Airways has performed automatic landings on bothrunways at Heathrow. This application of the MLS technology is a world-first and means thatmore flights will be able to land safely in difficult weather conditions, where air traffic is denseand where interference from buildings or objects including moving aircraft on taxiway aroundthe approach to the airport is extensive.

“We are delighted with the latest certification, which has enabled British Airways to becomethe first airline to benefit from a system that will simultaneously increase capacity and safety,whilst also providing key environment enhancements”, said Paul Kahn, Managing Director ofThales’s Navigation & Airport Solutions business. “These synergies have enabled us todevelop a world-class solution in which we are confident other airlines and airports will see a valuable opportunity.”


The use of MLS technology will have a positive impact on the environment – every minute gained on a flight represents a saving of the equivalent of 160Kg in CO2 emissions.  With its transverse capabilities and “systems of systems” approach, Thales has the capacity to bring together both ground systems and onboard systems providing a global solution to meet the requirements of all users.45, rue de Villiers 92526 Neuilly-sur-Seine Cedex – France – Tel.: +33 (0) 1 57 77 86 26 – Fax: +33 (0) 1 57 77 87 44 –


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