The FAA published an update last week to the 13-year-old JO 7110.113D order governing procedures for issuing departure clearance using the pre-departure clearance (PDC) system available through the electronic control tower datalink system (TDLS). The change resulted from the agency and user community jointly identifying several inconsistencies in the process, as well as misunderstandings about how the process is understood by those receiving clearances. Officials and aircraft operators also identified contradictory information within clearances and inadequate local monitoring of air traffic TDLS adaptations.
One important element of the new PDC procedure is that amended or revised clearances may not be transmitted electronically and must be delivered verbally to the flight crew. Pilots should also be alert that no ATC instructions are included with any improvised messages. It now becomes the responsibility of the local ATC facility manager to develop procedures to review clearances for accuracy and route integrity before transmission.
The new procedures, designed to bring more standardization to the U.S. air traffic control system, take effect on April 3.