Air traffic management voice

Bringing Voice over IP (VoIP) to the world of air traffic management.

Voice communications still play a major role in air traffic management. However, no common standards are in place for ground communications, which until now has been based mainly on analogue (ATS-R2) and digital (ATS-QSIG) protocols. To ensure that dynamic secturisation of functional airspace blocks is possible, ATM needs new flexible and interoperable technical solutions.

The Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) in ATM standard is the ideal solution to provide interoperability. This is especially true for the air-ground communications where several adjacent ATC centres belonging to different air navigation service providers (ANSPs) share a ground radio station.


In support of European aviation, EUROCONTROL along with aviation industry and ANSP representatives developed and published the VoIP in ATM standard at the 67th EUROCAE working group meeting. The ICAO Aeronautical Communication Panel Working Group I also adopted the standard as part of their own Internet Protocol Suite (IPS).

The standard consists of three documents, including

  • VoIP ATM System Operational and Technical Requirements (ED136);
  • Interoperability Standards for VoIP ATM Components (ED137B);
  • Network Requirements and Performances for VoIP ATM Systems (ED138).

A EUROCONTROL European Single Sky Implementation (ESSIP) objective for VoIP in ATM became active in 2011 for the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) States. The deployment is planned to be initiated in January 2013 for both inter-centre telephony and the ground segment of the air-ground voice communications. The migration of the European ATM voice services to VoIP is forecast to be finalised by December 2018 for inter-centre telephony and by December 2020 for the ground segment of air-ground communications.

VoIP Implementation and Transition Expert Group (VOTE)

To support the European-wide ATM voice communications transition towards VoIP, EUROCONTROL launched the VoIP Implementation and Transition Expert Group (VOTE) in February 2010. VOTE has the generic mission to address VoIP in ATM implementation and transition-related issues on a case-by-case basis; and to identify solutions and deliver recommendations to interested parties (e.g. ANSPs, industry, TELCOs and standardisation bodies).

EUROCONTROL finalised the VoIP in ATM Test case specification which consist of the following set of interconnected documents:

  • VoIP in ATM cross-reference matrix
  • Telephone Test case specification for VoIP in ATM
  • Radio Test case specification for VoIP in ATM
  • Recorder Test case specification for VoIP in ATM
  • SIP v ATS-QSIG Interworking Gateway Specification
  • SIP v ATS-R2 Interworking Gateway Specification
  • VoIP in ATM Test suite specification - High Level Description of VoIP in ATM Test Cases.

The documents are available on the VOTE OneSky Team Library on the EUROCONTROL extranet.

EUROCONTROL further developed the VoIP in ATM test suite called VOTER, an essential element to facilitate timely multi-vendor VoIP implementations. VOTER version 2.0.0. has been released in April 2013.