Operators flying the North Atlantic Track (NAT) system between FL350 and FL390 must soon comply with ICAO’s new performance-based communication and surveillance (PBCS) requirements. As of March 29, PBCS compliance will be required to fly on three NAT tracks; more tracks requiring PBCS will be added after March 29, 2019, or when the filing of PBCS designators reaches the 90 percent mark.
PBCS applies required communication performance (RCP) and required surveillance performance (RSP) specifications, resulting in performance-based separation standards in oceanic space. Implementation is carried out by each host country, with the FAA requiring a new letter of authorization (A056) to be filed indicating PBCS compliance. Due to a backlog of A056 requests, industry experts expect the A056 renewal deadline to be extended to June 30 for Part 91 operators only.
PBCS is intended to replace the reduced lateral (RLAT) separation minimum and reduced longitudinal (RLONG) separation minimum trials currently in force, and will continue to allow RLAT of 23 nm/30 nm and RLONG separation of five minutes. To operate on the PBCS tracks, aircraft must have controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) capable of RCP240 and automatic dependent surveillance-contract (ADS-C) capable of RSP180. Aircraft without these capabilities can still fly on non-PBCS NAT tracks but will have larger separation minimums applied. For more information, see the PBCS information web pages at the FAA and ICAO.