Nav Canada, UK NATS and Air France said they have demonstrated that aircraft can safely change their flight profiles to more efficiently cross North Atlantic airspace. The so-called Engage II project will lead to “significant changes” in oceanic procedures, Nav Canada said October 17.
Shanwick Oceanic Control
Two preferred routes over the North Atlantic Organized Track System (NAT OTS) now require cockpit datalink capability. The ICAO requirement calls for two datalink capabilities, controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) and ADS-C (Contract). Flight departments planning to equip for datalink communications to meet this requirement will have to obtain a letter of authorization from their local FAA FSDO.
Both Gander and Shanwick oceanic control areas (OCAs) are conducting a trial of reduced longitudinal separation standards–five minutes between eligible aircraft–in North Atlantic airspace. The separation minimum for turbojets maintaining constant Mach on the same longitudinal track in the North Atlantic minimum navigation performance specifications (MNPS) airspace is 10 minutes.
Nav Canada officials responsible for Gander Oceanic Airspace said last week they are concerned about the number of non-HF-equipped aircraft transiting their airspace. “Depending on altitude and route of flight, it is possible to traverse some portions of our area with only VHF.
Reduced longitudinal separation minimum [RLongSM], an ATC pilot program in the North Atlantic, produced no safety events during a nine-month evaluation period last year. “Normal longitudinal separation is ten minutes,” explained Dave Stohr, president of Air Training International. “The trial was running with five minutes between appropriately equipped and approved aircraft.”
Flight trials to demonstrate new procedures intended to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of international flights crossing the North Atlantic have begun.
Nav Canada and UK NATS have implemented a new navigation standard that reduces longitudinal separations by half for properly equipped aircraft in North Atlantic airspace managed by the Canadian and UK air navigation service providers.
At least 4,000 flights in northern European airspace were cancelled today after a large cloud of ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland drifted to the south and east. UK airspace was completely closed from noon local time and, at press time, was not due to reopen until at least 7 a.m. tomorrow.