North Altantic Region - Datalink Mandate

The International Civil Aviation Organization European and North Atlantic (EUR/NAT) Office has mandated that all aircraft intending to conduct flights in the specified portions of the NAT regional airspace be equipped with and operate Controller-Pilot Datalink Communications (CPDLC) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) equipment, as per State letter EUR/NAT 12-0003.TEC (dated Jan. 4, 2012).

This mandate will be implemented in a phased approach:
Phase One - New requirements applied to specific tracks and flight levels within the Organized Track Structure (OTS).

Phase Two – Continued changes to the North Atlantic Track Minimum Navigational Performance Specifications (NAT MNPS) airspace.

Phase One of the implementation is currently in effect. Phase Two takes effect on Feb. 5, 2015.

Phase One

As of Feb. 7, 2013, all aircraft operating on or at any point along two specified tracks within the NAT Organized Track Structure (OTS) from flight level FL360 to FL390 inclusive, are required to be fitted with and using CPDLC and ADS-C equipment. The mandate will be in effect during the OTS valid period and is applicable to all flights that will cross 30 degrees west during the published track times.

The specific tracks will be assigned based on predicted traffic intensity for that day. Operators will be notified which tracks are affected by this mandate through the remarks section of the OTS message.

Non-compliant aircraft will not be permitted to fly or cross these specific tracks during their valid period. However, continuous climb and descent through the specified levels may be permitted, subject to traffic on the day of operation.

Phase One Example

The specific tracks affected by Phase One will be indicated in the North Atlantic Track OTS messages, which are published twice daily. This information will typically be noted in the second section of the remarks.


Phase Two

Phase 2 will be implemented in a three-stage approach and will continue to expand the NAT Datalink region, as per the mandate.

Phase 2A will commence on Feb. 5, 2015
The NAT region Datalink Mandate will apply to all NAT OTS from FL350 to FL390 inclusive.

Phase 2B will commence on Dec. 7, 2017
The NAT region Datalink Mandate will apply throughout the entire NAT region from FL350 to FL390 inclusive.

Phase 2C will commence on Jan. 30, 2020
The NAT region Datalink Mandate will apply throughout the entire NAT region from FL290 and above.

NAT Region Airspace Exception

The following airspaces will not be subject to the NAT region Datalink Mandate:

  • ATS Surveillance airspace. i.e. airspace where radar and/or ADS-B coverage exists.
  • Airspace north of 80o North. Airspace north of 80o lies outside the area of reliability for geostationary satellite reception.
  • The New York Oceanic FIR

Flight Planning

Operators planning to fly within the Datalink Mandate area of the NAT region must ensure the aircraft is fitted and operating with CPDLC and ADS-C equipment. The ATC flight plans must indicate the aircraft's capabilities in items 10a and 10b.

Item 10a

The ATC flight plan must contain one or more of the following codes;

a. J2 - CPDLC FANS 1/A HFDL and/or
b. J5 - CPDLC FANS 1/A SATCOM (INMARSAT) and/or
c. J7 - CPDLC FANS SATCOM (Iridium)

Item 10b

The ATC flight plan must contain the following code;

a. D1 - ADS-C with FANS 1/A capabilities
CPDLC FANS 1/A SATCOM (INMARSAT) and/or

Below is an example of an ATC flight plan for a flight operating within the Datalink Mandated region on NAT OTS track W, at flight level FL390:

FPL-XXXXXXX-IG
-GLEX/M-SDFGHIJ2J5J7WXYZ/SD1
-CYYZ2300
-N0456F390 DCT BEJAT J595 ART DCT MSS J566 YUL DCT UFX DCT ANCER
N155A STEAM/M080F390 NATW BEXET/N0459F390 DCT EVRIN UL607 NUMPO
UP2 BEDEK LOREL2S
-EGGW0658 EGCC
-PBN/A1B1L1 NAV/RNVD1E2A1 DOF/130924 REG/XXXXX PER/C
EET/CZQX0157 EGGX0425 EISN0535 EGTT0618
SEL/XXXX

Non-equipped aircraft

Prior to Phase 2C, it is not advisable to shadow Datalink Mandated tracks at higher altitudes.

Example:
An operator flying a non-equipped aircraft planned on Track V, at an altitude of FL400.

If for some reason the aircraft is not able to obtain or maintain FL400 on Track V, ATC would have to reroute the flight to a non-datalink mandated track to accommodate the lower altitude. The operation of non-equipped aircraft that are not considered special status flights is not permitted within the Datalink Mandated regions of the OTS.

Also the planned flight level may not be available due to factors other than aircraft performance, such as traffic flow control and traffic congestion on the planned track. Therefore, it is advisable for non-equipped aircraft to be planned on adjacent non-datalink mandated tracks whenever possible.

Special Status Flights

Non-equipped flights that file STS/FFR, HOSP, HUM, MEDEVAC SAR, or STATE in Item 18 of the flight plan will be permitted to operate through the Datalink Mandated NAT region. Depending on the tactical situation at the time of flight, such flights may not receive an ATC clearance that fully corresponds to the requested flight profile. Operators of such flights are strongly advised to plan accordingly.

Operational Policies

  1. Non-equipped aircraft may request a climb or descent through the NAT region Datalink Mandated airspace, which will be subject to real time ATC approval.
  2. Onboard Datalink Equipment Failure:
    1. Prior to departure, the aircraft must re-file to remain clear of the NAT Region Datalink Mandated airspace.
    2. After departure, the flight crew must notify ATC of their status prior to entering the NAT region Datalink Mandated airspace.

Conclusion

With advancement in aviation communications, the use of CPDLC and ADS-C will become more prominent during the next few years. With Phase One of the NAT Datalink Mandate already in place, it is imperative that operators understand the capabilities of the aircraft in their fleet and plan accordingly when operating within the NAT OTS.

For more information, 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.