The benefits of Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) remain apparent: improved operational efficiencies and safety, simplified flight deck Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications for pilots, and a substantial 11% air traffic capacity increase for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) when CPDLC reaches 70% usage. To prepare for the mandate, comprehensive steps have already been taken. SITA/ARINC ground stations now cover most of Europe and the overwhelmingly high demand on the single CPDLC frequency has been recognized and responded to. As a result, automatic switching between five frequencies has been introduced and this figure is likely to increase further as demand continues to rise.
Despite this progress, the journey to implement the February 5, 2020 mandatory regulation has been far from straightforward. From infrastructure related delays to inconclusive debates about exemptions – setbacks have caused confusion and frustration within the aviation industry. The Data Link Support Group (DLSG) event organized by Eurocontrol in September 2019 was highly effective in bringing stakeholders together. However, its varied contributions and five year absence highlights the somewhat fragmented and incomplete path towards the date set by the European Commission.
Direct from the DLSG event in Brussels and the Data Link User Forum (DLUF) in Dublin, Fokker Services shares the latest updates associated with this complex and imminent mandate.