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Airline Glossary – ILS

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What is the meaning of the abbreviation ILS, we asked you yesterday on our Facebook page. Here’s the answer:

ILS stands for instrument landing system, a facility that provides pilots with both lateral and vertical guidance signals to help them land, especially in conditions of limited visibility. The lateral guidance is provided by the localizer, which tells the pilots if they are aligned with the runway centreline; and the vertical guidance is provided by the glide slope, which leads the aircraft down at a prescribed angle of approach. By following the intersection of the localizer and glide slope signals, pilots can guide their flight right down to the runway’s touchdown zone. All the runways in Zurich, Geneva and Basel that are used by our flights are ILS-equipped. And the system will generally be used by approaching aircraft whenever it is available, unless ATC prescribes a different approach or the pilots opt to perform a visual approach for training purposes.