A curious conundrum is causing confusion for international business jet operators flying to countries where ADS-B out equipment and capability is mandatory. While there is no requirement in the U.S. and Europe for operators to have a letter of authorization (LOA) for using ADS-B out equipment, some Asia-Pacific countries are requiring that operators carry an LOA with their aircraft’s paperwork when operating in airspace where ADS-B out is required. The problem is that asking FAA inspectors to add yet another LOA package to their overburdened workflows further delays issuance.
Smart operators have been installing ADS-B out equipment ahead of mandates, and most new aircraft are so equipped, too, to meet the Asian mandates as well as upcoming European and U.S. deadlines. But for some reason, there is disagreement among various countries’ air navigation service providers about whether operators need LOAs. There is no such requirement for the U.S. ADS-B out mandate, which comes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, or for Europe. LOAs are required for ADS-B out airspace in Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Singapore and Vietnam, according to NBAA.
To help U.S. operators traveling overseas, the FAA has devised a simpler method to provide an LOA for ADS-B out. According to NBAA, when ADS-B out LOA applications were at a low level of about 10 a year, the FAA’s original A353 authorization process involved the local FSDO, regional office and multiple offices at FAA headquarters. Nearly 100 applications have been submitted this year, with dozens more pending.
To help improve the process, the FAA is replacing A353 with OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A153, which NBAA noted, “has cut the length of the application to 20 pages from 200.” The process can also be handled at the FSDO level. The FAA believes these moves will reduce the time needed for the agency to process LOA applications.