Update your aircraft for ICAO 2012

As of November 15, 2012 the International Civil Aviation Authority has changed items 10 and 18 on the filed flight plan messages. Old flight plans are no longer supported.

Colt is ready. We want you to be ready too.

Effective November 15th, 2012 ICAO will be implementing changes to the format of the ICAO flight plan.

The changes will require that more specific flight and aircraft detail be delivered to the ATC and in a new format. The main concern though is: how will this affect you?

The most extensive changes affect Item 10 (equipment) and Item 18 (other information). To the right, you can see the ICAO changes in red. According to the FAA, these are the major items to make note of:

  • Additional alphanumeric qualifiers that reflect enchancements to operational capabilities in ground-based and satellite-based navigation and surveillance equipment. The new qualifiers cover equipment for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C), and Controller Pilot Data Link Future Air Navigation System (CPDLC-FANS), as well as several other qualifier additions and deletions.
  • Significant changes to Item 18 (other information), including formatting, indicator definitions, specific grammar for special handling, and new qualifiers for Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigiation Performance (RNP).
  • Specific format for aerodromes not listed in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).
  • Delay (DLA), Change (CHG), Cancel (CNL), and Arrival (ARR) message formats.

An added benefit to these changes is that you no longer have to file within a 24 hour period. You can now sleep at easy since you can now file up to 120 hours in advance.



Why are things changing now?

ICAO recognized the advancement of aircraft capabilities and the requirements of ATM systems that there was a need to update the methods for filing current flight plans. The goal of these changes is to better identify the newer communications and equipment while still accommodating the existing systems. This will arm the ATC with more detailed information in order to communicate properly with aircraft and assign the appropriate landing details, avoiding rerouting and delays.

These changes are also aimed at having a more unified, global approach to flight plans. The more consistent the filings become, the easier and more fluid international travel becomes, which will have a positive impact on all travel.

How can I prepare?

Practice makes perfect. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself and your crew is to get on board as soon as possible. Since July 15, 2012, plans have been accepted in the new format. It's not to late to start filing. This will allow you to work through any hurdles you may encounter with the new filing before it becomes mandatory. It will also ensure that if you are using a trip support provider, the provider will be prepared as well.

Even though Items 10 and 18 are affected the most, familiarizing yourself with the overall ICAO 2012 Filed Flight Plan amendment is the best way to prepare. Alternatively, your trip support provider should be prepared and able to ensure your compliance.


For more specifics about how these changes will effect you, visit any of these resources:

ICAO 2012 Updates to the FAA RNAV PBN codes

Effective August 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no longer requires operators to ATC file the FAA Area Navigation (RNAV) code in item 18 of the ATC flight plan (e.g. NAV/RNVD1E2A1). However, operators are still permitted to use the NAV/ designator to omit specific Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures.





For more information on PBN codes and ATC flight plan requirements please contact the on-duty Colt flight operations specialist or use the following links:

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