The Petersburg-based Pulkovo airline intends to fit its entire fleet with a modern (GPWS) by the end of 2005. According to the airline's press office, the cost of the new system is 40-50% lower than equivalent foreign systems, whose prices range from around USD 85 thousand to USD 120 thousand.
Pulkovo has completed flight tests of the new system, which was fitted on a TU-154M plane and is now being in full use. However, the entire fleet can only be equipped with the new system once the technical documentation has been approved by the State Civil Aviation Agency. Pulkovo said that fitting of the new GPWS on TU-154M planes should begin in February (these planes meet European regulations on noise emissions).
The new GPWS was developed by the St. Petersburg Prometei radio-equipment research institute specially for Pulkovo. Its main difference from previously existing systems is that it assesses the relief of the terrain ahead, and it meets international flight safety standards. Pulkovo revealed that the new GPWS is the only version to assess the relief of the terrain under the flight path which has been developed in Russia.
The Pulkovo Federal State Unitary Aviation Enterprise is Russia's oldest aviation company and is 100% owned by the federal government. The company currently owns the Pulkovo 1 and Pulkovo 2 terminals and two runways. It has 23 TU-154 planes, 11 TU-134 planes, and 8 Il-86 planes.