Aircraft that have a certified maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers or fewer and a maximum certified takeoff weight of 100,000 pounds or less, and with a first individual certificate of airworthiness issued before February 5, 2020 are now exempt from revised European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) datalink communications requirements (regulation EU 2019/1170).
Older aircraft, those with an individual certificate of airworthiness first issued before January 1, 1995, have been exempt from the start, and the February 1, 2020 compliance date for equipage by non-exempt aircraft also remains unchanged, as does the airspace (above FL285) in which datalink communications is required.
When the original requirement was adopted in 2009, it applied to all large aircraft (except older airframes) with an expectation that 75 percent of the fleet would be equipped before the February 2020 compliance deadline.
If the ongoing datalink implementation rates are to meet the original goal of 75 percent by next year’s deadline, EASA says the “criteria for exemptions should be amended.” Along with older aircraft, the exemption categories now include operators of aircraft with Future Air Navigation Systems 1/A systems installed, as well as operators of aircraft designed to carry 19 passengers or fewer.
This exemption is separate from the January 30, 2020 datalink communications compliance deadline for operations at all altitudes in the North Atlantic. Those provisions remain unmodified.