March 13, 2023


Sofema Aviation Services (SAS) considers the PBN Fundamentals

EASA Part SPA was issued as Annex V to Commission Regulation 965/2012. Part SPA provides for the:

Implementing Rules, (IRs),

Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMCs), and Guidance Material (GMs) related to Specific Approvals available for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) / Air Carrier (AC) to apply for:

  • RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minima)
  • MNPS (Specified Minimum Navigation Performance)
  • PBN (Performance-Based Navigation)
  • AWOPS (All Weather Operations) & LVO (Low Visibility Operations)
  • ETOPS (Extended Range Operations with Two Engined Aeroplanes)

PBN (Performance-Based Navigation)

Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) is comprised of Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) and describes an aircraft’s capability to navigate using performance standards.

PBN Performance-Based Navigation – In simple terms, redefines the aircraft’s required navigation capability from the sensor (equipment) based to performance-based.

The Foundation for Performance-Based Navigation is area navigation or RNAV.

RNAV is a method of navigation which permits aircraft operation on any desired flight path within the coverage of station-referenced navigation aids or within the limits of the capability of self-contained aids, or a combination of these.

Historically, aircraft navigation specifications have been specified directly in terms of sensors (navigation beacons and/or waypoints).

PBN Development

With the advent of area navigation, there was a requirement to define and standardize the capability. This has resulted in a menu of Performance-Based Navigation specifications.

For each specification, there is a lateral containment value that the aircraft must be able to remain within, in order to be approved for that operation.

ICAO Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) specifies that aircraft-required navigation performance (RNP) and area navigation (RNAV) systems performance requirements be defined in terms of

  • accuracy
  • integrity
  • availability
  • continuity and
  • functionality

Required for the proposed operations in the context of a particular airspace when supported by the appropriate navigation infrastructure.

Note the difference between RNP & RNAV

  • A navigation specification that includes an additional requirement for onboard navigation performance monitoring and alerting is referred to as a required navigation performance (RNP) specification.
  • One not having such requirements is referred to as area navigation (RNAV) specification.
  • Performance requirements are identified in navigation specifications, which also identify the choice of navigation sensors and equipment that may be used to meet the performance requirements.
  • The navigation specifications provide specific implementation guidance in order to facilitate global harmonisation.

PBN is a key component of ICAO’s Global Navigation Plan. A plan to improve Safety, Efficiency Access and Security to the Global Aviation System.

The PBN Implementation plan will move the aviation industry away from high dependence on ground-based navigation systems to greater dependence on airborne navigation technology.

This means the days of flying fixed tracks from one navigation beacon to another are coming to an end.

PBN will help overcome the inherent inefficiencies and limitations of terrestrial navigation technologies.

Next Steps

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Sofema Aviation Services ( & Sofema Online ( provide Classroom, Webinar and Online training including courses related to Performance-Based Navigation (PBN). If you want to find more details about our services, visit our websites or email


Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMCs), Air Carrier (AC), Air Operator Certificate (AOC), Aircraft, All Weather Operations (AWOPS), Annex V (Part-SPA), Area Navigation (RNAV), aviation safety, EASA, EASA Implementing Rules (IR), EASA Part SPA, ETOPS, Guidance Material (GMs), Introducing Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), MNPS, PBN, Required Navigation Performance (RNP), RNAV, RVSM, SAS blogs, Specific Approvals