Nearly 26,000 flights cross the European skies daily and expected forecasts for growth project that European air traffic management will likely handle double the current traffic levels by 2020.  To accommodate this growth and improve costs, safety, and performance, the Single European Sky (SES) was developed to create a common set of rules and procedures. One of these mandates takes effect this month and future mandates are expected to have an impact on all airline operators.

Starting this month, the EUROCONTROL’s Single European Sky for Data Link Services (SES for DLS) mandate takes effect. Because this mandate affects the entire communication and operation process for airlines around the world, Connected Aviation Today is examining what this mandate means and exactly how it will affect airports and airlines.

Here are the key takeaways about the SES for DLS mandate and what it means for aviation industry leaders:

Exactly what does the SES for DLS mandate say?

According to the EUROCONTROL website, “EUROCONTROL has been mandated by the European Commission to develop a draft implementing rule for interoperability on the provision and use of data link services supported by air-ground communications. This implementing rule is also to address civil military coordination.”

Essentially, this means that the use of data link services in aircraft (commercial or military) operating in the European Air Traffic Management Network (EATMN) must comply with these identified standards. The goal of the mandate is to create a more seamless and interoperable air-ground communication environment through the standardization of data link services.

What are the parameters for the SES for DLS mandate?

EUROCONTROL has drafted a series of implementing rules that identify the following:

  • The objective and scope with in particular, aircraft categories (including State aircraft) with mandatory data link equipage and airspace in which data link services can be used
  • The communications infrastructure to be used
  • The data link services to be used
  • The ATC procedures for the provision and use of data link services
  • General requirements applicable to air navigation service providers, aircraft operators and air-ground data communication service providers
  • Requirements defining the conditions and criteria of temporary exemptions applicable to aircraft
  • Implementation conditions in particular timescale for ground and aircraft implementation

Who does the mandate apply to?

EUROCONTROL stated that, “The Data Link Services (DLS) implementing rule targets airspace users operating above Flight Level 285 and Air Navigation Service Providers operating in the EU region.” This means any commercial or domestic military aircraft communicating via EATMN.

You can read the full SES for DLS mandate here, courtesy of the European Union. In a follow up piece about the SES for DLS mandate, we’ll be speaking with Andrew Onken, Principal Manager for Government and Air Traffic Services at Rockwell Collins IMS, about the steps necessary for mandate compliance and what potential consequences lay ahead for those that fail to do so. Onken will also be discussing data link services trends at the Data Link Users Forum later this month.

To stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in connected aviation, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter.

Chelsea Barone

About Chelsea Barone

Chelsea is an editor for Connected Aviation Today, managing the day-to-day editorial activities. Chelsea writes for other federal government and technology industry publications. Her background lies in B2B and enterprise technology, specifically cloud computing, SaaS, travel IT, and mobile devices.