CPDLC Mandate Developments in 2020 CPDLC Mandate Developments in 2020

CPDLC Mandate: Developments in 2020

March 3, 2020

Read more about CPDLC information we discovered during the Eurocontrol Data Link Support Group (DLSG) meeting that took place on January 28, 2020.

Though a number of operators believed that the CPDLC mandate would be canceled, it officially came into effect on February 5, 2020. After years of discussions and development, the aviation industry has now entered into a new phase, and must ensure compliance with this mandate when operating above FL285 in the European airspace. In November 2019, we shared some key updates on this topic in our white paper. Now, we are back to share information we discovered during the Eurocontrol Data Link Support Group (DLSG) meeting that took place on January 28, 2020.

CPDLC Messages
The standardization of CPDLC messages is becoming a problem across Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs). The lack of standardization means that there is a chance of misinterpretation between pilots and air traffic controllers (ATCs). For example, “change heading 020” could be interpreted in two ways. Either that the pilot needs to turn to heading 020, or that the pilot should make a left turn of 20 degrees. One OEM advised the use of absolute angle clearance only, and ICAO specifies the use of two digits for relative turns and three digits for absolute headings. Our CPDLC modification featuring the advanced Spectralux Dlink+ technology uses just two digits for heading change requests.

The Lists
The logic of the White List, which has been officially renamed as the Logon List, is being challenged by some airlines and equipment manufacturers as they feel their equipment is sufficiently suitable for data link communication. If they are successful, it will eliminate the benefit of CPDLC because of the far higher Provider Abort (PA) rate from aircraft/equipment that are not Logon List eligible. However, MUAC is clear that if aircraft are not on the Logon List, the CPDLC capacity increase objectives will not be achieved.

Boeing-757 Boeing-757
Our CPDLC solution is available for the Airbus A320 family, Boeing 737 and Boeing 757


The legal status is unknown for the Logon Ineligible Avionics List, formerly known as the Black List, and is being challenged by some equipment manufacturers. There is no European consensus on this, and for now the decision to grant temporary exemption will be made by the either the national authority or EASA. Today, non-compliant operators will not incur any penalties, but may be reported by Eurocontrol for potential future action. However, this is not currently clear, and it is the responsibility of the European Commission Network Manager to decide. This decision-making is scheduled for April 2020.

If operators found themselves not exempt or not compliant by February 5th, they must also apply for a temporary exemption by asking their local airworthiness authority if they are an EU member, or by asking EASA if they are not an EU member. The exemption duration depends on the authority – there are no fixed periods – and operators will need to provide a plan for CPDLC incorporation. Alternatively, FANS 1/A should be acceptable as an alternative to CPDLC. In addition, EASA is encouraging operators that are disrupted by the Boeing 737 MAX delays and need to continue operating their current fleet to also follow this same process and apply for temporary exemption.

However, there is some unhappiness about aircraft which have not been granted exempt status. These operators did not ask for exemption during the consultation period in 2019. The European Commission believe that there was sufficient consultation time, and has no current plans to update the annex list of exempted aircraft types, named the ‘Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/2012’.

What’s Next?
Although the mandate has arrived, there are still many open questions to be answered in addition to the open items in this article: how do operators access aircraft data when they do not have AOC capability? How will exempt aircraft be recognized as exempt to ATC? We will report on further developments in June, following the next scheduled DLSG meeting.


Article publication date: March 3, 2020.

For more information on Fokker Services’ CPDLC solution, please contact Iris van den Nieuwenhof, Regional Sales Director, EMEA, Fokker Services: Iris.VanDenNieuwenhof@fokker.com

Watch the Fokker Services CPDLC video here to find out more about the mandate as well as Fokker Services’ solution.

For more information, please refer to Eurocontrol’s website and WikiLink main page.

Disclaimer: The material and information contained in this article are for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information in this paper as a basis for making any business, legal or any other decisions. Whilst we endeavor to keep the information accurate and topical, Fokker Services makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability with respect to the article or the information contained therein for any purpose.