Datalink is identified in every major Air Traffic Management (ATM) strategy and initiative. The LINK 2000+ Programme packages a first set of en-route controller pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) services into a beneficial and affordable set for implementation.
The research and development has been carried out, the standards are stable, the safety case is mature and the business case provides the justification.
Link 2000+ programme
The Link 2000+ Programme is set to become an operational reality across Europe within five years. This implementation will provide a firm foundation for the longer-term SESAR plans to extend automation, services and technology.
The Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (UAC) has been operational with controller pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) since 2003. It is unique in Europe in its capability to lead the field testing ATM improvements.
Steps in datalink
The datalink roadmap contains three steps corresponding to the SESAR implementation packages (IPs):
- The first datalink step will take place within SESAR IP1 and consists of the implementation of the initial controller pilot datalink communications (CPDLC), which is being coordinated by the LINK 2000+ programme. Considering, 1 in every 3 voice communications between pilots and controllers needs to be repeated or is misunderstood, CPDLC will help to solve this problem, increasing safety and efficiency in the short term and lead to new ways of working in the future.
- The second datalink step will take place within SESAR IP2 and will support trajectory management for the first time as implement additional airport services (taxi and terminal information). It aims to deliver quickwins and benefits whilst facilitating the transition towards the SESAR target concept.
- The third roadmap step will introduce the full SESAR concept where datalink is the prime means of communication, including the complete management of business trajectories.
Finally, the next step in the datalink roadmap is a move towards trajectory management.
In cooperation with the European Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the LINK 2000+ Programme is actively supporting stakeholders in the implementation of the first package of datalink services designed for high-density en-route airspace.
The value of these services is recognised in European legislation, which sets dates for full European operation. The experience gained and infrastructure implemented will provide a springboard for the next generation of datalink services currently under study by the Sesar Joint Undertaking (SJU). There can be no Single European Sky without datalink.