Way forward for Air/Ground Data Communication Services in Europe
The 41 Member States of EUROCONTROL have mandated the Agency to prepare for the deployment of the European Air/Ground Data Communication Service (EAGDCS). A Directive to this effect from the Organisation’s governing body has been approved, in full consistency with the European Union Council Decision in June this year (2016/1124) that entrusted EUROCONTROL with this important project.
EUROCONTROL will collaborate with the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) of its Member States and with aircraft operators, all within the context of the SESAR project, to develop the necessary Governance, Financing and Procurement arrangements and to develop technical specifications.
As an initial step EUROCONTROL is organising a workshop in November to kick-off the project in the view of setting up the framework to start delivering the EAGDCS service in compliance with (EU) 2015/310 timeframe (5 February 2018 for Air Navigation Service Providers) and with the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 716/2014, and in particular ATM Functionality 6, Initial Trajectory Information Sharing (1 January 2025 for ATS providers and the Network Manager).
Air/Ground Data Communication services allow controllers and pilots to communicate with each other safely, in a way that reduces the chance of miscommunication and frees up radio channels for more urgent messages. It is also an important step towards the SESAR concept of 4D trajectories, allowing exchange of data from the Flight Management System of the aircraft to the ATC Centre and providing the controller with real time information on the pilot’s intentions; this will be a major safety and efficiency improvement.
Frank Brenner, the Director General of EUROCONTROL, commented “The implementation of reliable air/ground data communication services is a vital enabler for the SESAR Operational Concept. It is clear that the difficulties relating to the initial deployment of Datalink in Europe were largely because it was not deployed in a coherent and fully managed way. EAGDCS takes full account of the lessons learnt in the EASA report and the SESAR Joint Undertaking studies; it represents a practical and effective way forward.”