North Altantic Region - Datalink Mandate

Requirements for 8.33 kHz channel spacing within European (Eurocontrol) airspace

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, aircraft operating within specific regions of Europe must be equipped with radios capable of 8.33 kHz channel spacing. This requirement is part of a phased rollout to split the Very High Frequency (VHF) band.

For civil communications, Air Traffic Control (ATC) generally uses this band. Due to the limitation of frequencies available, controlling authorities often reassign the same frequencies provided there are no interference problems. With increases in air traffic levels, there has been a corresponding increase in the demand for operational improvements, such as redefining airspaces, which has led to an increase in the demand for VHF assignments.

To address the demands, the numbers of available VHF assignments were increased by optimizing the frequency band by;

  1. Using more of the VHF spectrum
  2. Splitting the radio spectrum into narrower band widths
  3. Further splitting of the spectrum to the 8.33 kHz spacing, beginning in 1994

The mandate for 8.33 kHz channel spacing has been and will be implemented as follows:

  1. October 1999 – The use of 8.33 kHz channel spacing radios is mandated by the European Union for flights operating above FL245.
  2. March 15, 2007 – The mandated altitude was lowered from FL245 to FL195.
  3. Nov. 17, 2013 – All new VHF radios are required to be 8.33 kHz capable.
  4. Jan. 1, 2014 – All aircraft operating within specific regions of Europe will require radios capable of 8.33 kHz channel spacing.
  5. Jan. 1, 2018 – All civilian aircraft operating within European airspace will require radios capable of 8.33 kHz channel spacing.

Flight planning above FL195

On March 15, 2007, the mandatory carriage and operation of 8.33 kHz capable radio equipment came in to effect for flights above FL195 in the ICAO European region.

8.33 equipped

Flight plans for aircraft equipped with 8.33 kHz-capable radios should contain code "Y" for item 10a of the ICAO flight plan regardless of the planned flight levels.

Example
(FPL-XXXXX-IG
-CL60/M-SFDGHIM3RTWXYZ/S
-CYYT0000
-M080F370 DCT YYT DCT NOVEP DCT 48N050W 50N040W 52N030W 53N020W DCT DOGAL DCT
BEXET DCT LIFFY UL975 WAL UL10 HON LOREL2H
-EGGW0434 EGSS
-PBN/A1B1C1D1L1O1 NAV/RNVD1E2A1 DOF/131018 REG/XXXXX
EET/EGGX0202 EISN0313 EGTT0354 48N050W0023 50N040W0112 52N030W0202
53N020W0249
SEL/XXXX PER/C)

Non-8.33 equipped

Aircraft operating with an 8.33 kHz carriage exemption must include status "EXM833" in item 18 of the ICAO flight plan. Flight exemptions must be obtained in advance from each country for which the aircraft intends to overfly.

Example
(FPL-XXXXX-IG
-CL60/M-SFDGHIM3RTUWXZ/S
-CYYT0000
-M080F370 DCT YYT DCT NOVEP DCT 48N050W 50N040W 52N030W 53N020W DCT DOGAL DCT
BEXET DCT LIFFY UL975 WAL UL10 HON LOREL2H
-EGGW0434 EGSS
-PBN/A1B1C1D1L1O1 NAV/RNVD1E2A1 DOF/131018 REG/XXXXX STS/EXM833
EET/EGGX0202 EISN0313 EGTT0354 48N050W0023 50N040W0112 52N030W0202
53N020W0249
SEL/XXXX PER/C)

Flight planning below FL195

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, several European ATC sectors in the most frequency congested areas will require 8.33 kHz capable equipment for flights operating FL195 and below.

Instrument Flight Rules

The mandate requires aircraft operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) in class A, B or C airspace to be fitted with 8.33 kHz capable radio, for all altitudes, in the following countries:

  1. Germany
  2. Ireland
  3. France
  4. Italy
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Hungary
  7. Netherlands
  8. Austria
  9. United Kingdom

Visual Flight Rules or Special Visual Flight Rules

Aircraft not equipped with serviceable 8.33 kHz-capable radios should not operate under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR) in airspace requiring 8.33 kHz radio spacing.

Conclusion

Even with the current 8.33 kHz spacing requirements, operating within European airspace can be very restrictive for most operators. With the implementation on Jan. 1, 2014 , aircraft without 8.33 kHz capability will be severely restricted in certain regions of Europe unless they have an exemption. We highly recommended that operators upgrade radio equipment if operation within these regions is expected. For more information, use the links in the Additional Information box or call the Colt International Trip Support department at (281) 280-2200 and ask to speak with an on-duty Flight Operations Specialist.

The information provided is based on current information at time of publication and may be subject to change.
Please contact your Colt Trip Support specialist for assistance and services.