Europe CPDLC: The Mandate We Missed

By Rebecca Lougheed

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A brief little refresher on the datalink mandate in Europe, because some of the temporary exemptions have now ended.

What actually happened?

The EU had a datalink mandate which came into force from February 2020. It applied to all aircraft operating above FL285 throughout Europe.

But, there were exemptions. Two sets in fact – one of a fairly permanent sort, and another that was only temporary. It is the temporary exemptions which have now ended.

Click on this to link to the current Eurocontrol map

When did this happen?

5th February 2022. And no, they haven’t extended it.

What were the exemptions?

There are two articles (you can read all this ‘officially’ here if you would like).

Basically, if you fit under Article 1 then you can get a permanent exemption. If you fit under Article 2 then you probably had (but don’t have anymore) the temporary exemption.

Article 1 covers all aircraft listed in Annex I, and any in Annex II whose first certificate of Airworthiness was issued prior to Feb 5 2020. Article 2 is any aircraft listed in Annex II with an airworthiness certificate issued on or after Feb 5th 2020, and any aircraft specified in Annex III.

Give it to me straight!

Ok, ok, here are the aircraft which are permanently exempt, and those which had the temporary exemption until 5 Feb 2022 to do the avionics retrofit…

Aircraft permanently exempt:

  • Aircraft in Annex I
  • Aircraft in Annex II with a CofA issued before 5 Feb 2020

Aircraft which had up to 5 Feb 2022 to do the avionics retrofit:

  • Aircraft in Annex II with a CofA issued after 5 Feb 2020
  • Aircraft in Annex III

There are a lot of aircraft listed in these annexes, but Annex II in particular contains a fair few Bizav aircraft, so we’ve whacked that in below for you to see. We mentioned how GA/BA aircraft might be exempted here, before.

The smallest annex, so we could screenshot it here.

So does this affect you?

See above. It depends on those criteria.

Basically, most BizAv aircraft probably do meet the requirements of Article 3(3)(d) as well, which covers aircraft with a certified maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers or less and a maximum certified take-off mass of 45 359 Kg (100 000 lbs) or less and with a first individual certificate of airworthiness issued before 5 February 2020. If they do, they are exempted permanently.

This is all really a “reminder” of what’s already happened because if you don’t already know about this, it’s too late now anyway!

Tell us more about the mandate.

Actually, rather than do that, just head here to read what we’ve written before. This covers all the info you (hopefully) need on white list logons and all that jazz.

The entire consolidated version of Commission Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 is available here for your perusal, while the EC Implementing Decision 2019/2012 is here if needed.

The FAQs

EASA have published some (fairly) useful FAQs on all things datalink and CPDLC which you can read here on their ‘Airspace Usage requirements – DLS/CPDLC’ page.

One we see a lot, is do you have to register on the ‘White List’. The answer is no, it’s not  a regulatory requirement.

One final exemption.

If your equipment is temporarily inoperative you can still continue to operate within the applicable airspace if your MEL allows, and if you tell them about it in your flight plan. You do this with a “Z” in item 10 and the indicator “DAT/CPDLCX” in item 18 of your flight plan.

A final final one – you are also exempt if it is a delivery flight.

What EASA said when we asked for clarification.

Basically what we’ve put above, but to make it extra clear, here is a quote from their response –

“The EC Implementing Decision 2019/2012 in Article 2 refers to the 5 February 2022 date. Depending on the specific aircraft type/model and the first CofA date, the aircraft were either exempted or only temporarily exempted until 5 February 2022. There is no extension to this date and no change to this Decision since it has been adopted.

On the other hand, it should be noted that most business aircraft may meet the requirements of Article 3(3)(d) of the Commission Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 referring to aircraft which have a certified maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers or less and a maximum certified take-off mass of 45 359 Kg (100 000 lbs) or less and with a first individual certificate of airworthiness issued before 5 February 2020. If this is the case, the operator’s aircraft is exempted.

So if you were exempted under the earlier Article you are still exempted. If you weren’t but fulfil the criteria in Annex I of the new article then you are permanently exempted. If you fall in the list in the new Annex of only exempted until Feb 5th, then you are no longer exempted.

Any other questions?

You can read SIB 03 2020 here. If you have any other questions, you can ask EASA directly on atm@easa.europa.eu. We asked them some things a while ago and they took a week or two to respond but were super helpful when they did.


More on the topic:

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Rebecca Lougheed

Rebecca Lougheed

I am an OPSGROUP team member, an A340/A380 pilot, and interested in all things flight ops, cats and beer related. Based near an undisclosed airfield in England. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

11 Comments

  • Simon Abadjian says:

    I believe I will answer my own question.
    When reading the:
    EASA SIB No.: 2020-03
    it lists the July amendment to the doc 29/2009 in the first paragraph. So there for we are still covered by that amendment to doc 29/2009.

    I think

  • Simon Abadjian says:

    What about the document that amended Doc 29/2009, in July 2019, that came out prior to the November;

    COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2019/1170 of 8 July 2019
    amending and correcting Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 laying down requirements on data link services for the single European sky.

    In this doc it amends the wording to include:
    aircraft which have a certified maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers or less and a maximum certified take- off mass of 45 359 Kg (100 000 lbs) or less and with a first individual certificate of airworthiness issued before 5 February 2020;

    I have a Gulfstream G200. Its not on the lists published in November but does it still qualify for the exemption under the corrected test of 29/2009?

    • Simon Abadjian says:

      Any idea on this one Rebecca?

      • Yep, we have the same understanding – the old criteria still applies, the (new) decision is more referring to the date for the temporary exemptions, and clarifying the aircraft types which are also permanently exempted. I will update the post to better reflect that, but for your benefit now, this is the response we had from EASA on basically the same query –

        “The EC Implementing Decision 2019/2012 in Article 2 refers to the 5 February 2022 date. Depending on the specific aircraft type/model and the first CofA date, the aircraft were either exempted or only temporarily exempted until 5 February 2022. There is no extension to this date and no change to this Decision since it has been adopted.

        On the other hand, it should be noted that most business aircraft may meet the requirements of Article 3(3)(d) of the Commission Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 referring to aircraft which have a certified maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers or less and a maximum certified take-off mass of 45 359 Kg (100 000 lbs) or less and with a first individual certificate of airworthiness issued before 5 February 2020. If this is the case, the operator’s aircraft is exempted.

  • Adrian Florea says:

    Hello Rebbeca,
    The information provided for Romanian FIR LRBB is not accurate.
    ATN CPDLC is operational since April 2019 and since November 2019 we are provide CPDLC services for FANS only equipped aircraft.
    Please check Eurocontrol Information and update you page.
    Best regards,
    Adrian Florea

  • Christian Oliver says:

    This info is also located in the GOLD Document Section E-8 Paragraph E.4.1.3 & E.4.1.4.

  • Helder Silva says:

    Hi everyone,

    What about an aircraft not listed in any article….? Let’s say B777

    That became unclear to me after reading the article and official docs.

    Cheers

    • Hi Helda,
      Aircraft not listed in the exemptions annexes (or which fall outside the listed registration dates for example) will be required to be CPDLC capable. If not, they will be restricted to below FL285

      • Helder Silva says:

        Hi Rebecca,
        Not really sure about that to be honest… remember about a “whitelist”,
        Also this CPDLC feature is not FANS 1/A but ATN B1 meaning that a lot of birds will be out.
        Appreciate all inputs on this.

        Cheers

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