The much-anticipated decision to move the CPDLC mandate deadline has been announced this week by the European Commission (EC). The new deadline will now be February 2020 for operators to equip their aircraft with Controller-Pilot Datalink Communications (CPDLC).
In a statement to Avionics magazine, Gzim Ocakolu, EC Directorate for Mobility & Transport policy officer said, “I can indeed confirm to you some recent important developments related to the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 29/2009.”
The news is welcomed across the industry following concerns regarding the technical issues related to the radio frequency environment and the infrastructure of the ground-based operations currently in place. It is these issues, discovered during an EC investigation into the implementation of DLS ground infrastructure, that have led to the delay for mandatory CPDLC installation, which would have been activated last month.
“Certain air navigation service providers have already taken mitigation measures, consisting of the restriction of DLS operations to aircraft equipped with specific avionics through so-called ‘white lists,’ so as to address potential safety impacts of those PAs in the operations of data link service,” the EC said.
Just 40% of operators would have been ready for the mandate, the investigation found, and only 70% of the necessary ground infrastructure would’ve been ready and fit for use. The implementation of CPDLC is critical to European airspace, with voice channels that have become heavily congested. Compliance will involve retrofitting aircraft with FANS, 1/A router, antenna, CPDLC interface and VHF Data Link Mode 2 radio (VDLM2).