Today is North Atlantic Datalink Mandate Day! The final phase of the mandate came into effect today, 30 Jan 2020, meaning datalink is now required between FL290-410 throughout the entire NAT region.

ICAO has been good enough to publish a new NAT Doc 007 today too, which reflects this new rule. Download it here!

On initial inspection, it looks as though the only changes in this edition are to do with the rules and guidance relating to the Datalink Mandate – they haven’t snuck in any other new changes that we weren’t already expecting. (But, as always, if you spot any, please do let us know!)

Despite the expanded mandate, there are still some places where you won’t need datalink:

  • Everything north of 80° North
  • New York Oceanic East FIR
  • ATS Surveillance airspace These are areas where surveillance is provided either by: Radar, VHF, or ADS-B – which is basically the airspace over Iceland, the southern half of Greenland, and a big fish shape of airspace over the Azores (see image below)
  • Tango Routes T9 and new route T290 that was also introduced today (the other Tango routes T213, T13, and T16, will all require datalink).

Some of the Blue Spruce Routes will also be exempt from the datalink mandate. You only need a single LRNS plus normal short-range navigation equipment (VOR, DME, ADF) to fly these, plus your HLA approval. There remains a corridor of airspace between Canada and Iceland (the same area as the Blue Spruce Routes) which will remain open for aircraft not equipped with datalink.

Note: ADS-B is required over Greenland in the area shown below, north of a line from: GUNPA – 61N007W – 6040N010W – RATSU – 61N020W – 63N030W – 62N040W – 61N050W – SAVRY. The southerly Blue Spruce Route between Canada and Iceland does not enter this area.

Aircraft without datalink can still request to climb/descend through datalink mandated airspace, but will only be considered on a “tactical basis” by ATC.

Flights that file STS/FFR, HOSP, HUM, MEDEVAC SAR, or STATE in Field 18 of the FPL, will continue to be permitted to flight plan and fly through datalink mandated airspace, but may not get their requested flight levels.

To figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have, check out our NAT guides and charts here.

David Mumford

David Mumford

Opsgroup team member. International flight ops news hound.

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