Awareness campaign for pilots: Don’t use the datalink channel for voice communication!

Datalink alert banner

EUROCONTROL would like to raise awareness among pilots to keep VHF channels (136.500 -137.000 MHz) reserved for datalink free from voice communication to ensure most efficient communication between air traffic control (ATC) and pilots. Datalink is a key enabler to increase aviation safety and capacity as well as support automation, efficiency and scalability for airspace operations.

While monitoring flights over Europe, EUROCONTROL discovered that the dedicated radio frequencies supporting the air-ground datalink service (CPDLC) used for digital clearances have been misused for voice communication causing a failure of datalink exchange between air traffic control and aircraft. Pilots may have thought these channels are not in use because there is nothing audible, but the channels are effectively in use. On these occasions the provision of efficient air traffic services have been delayed causing unnecessary workload for pilots and controllers during these flights.

In addition, such difficulties undermine the trust in datalink and in future solutions involving this technology. As a means of passing instructions between air traffic controllers and pilots using text messages, datalink has the advantage of reducing the margin of error and misunderstandings in situations of poor voice connection, and liberating space on the congested VHF channels for critical voice communications. While datalink frequencies are selected automatically by the avionics, voice frequencies are dialled in manually, hence the need to raise awareness among airspace users to carefully check the VHF radio configuration.


Learn more on how we ensure an effective and harmonised datalink implementation in Europe.

Latest highlights

Juan Carlos Salazar, Secretary General ICAO & Raúl Medina, Director General, EUROCONTROL

EUROCONTROL & ICAO strengthen cooperation to improve aircraft tracking around the globe

Solidarity with Ukraine - statement 1 year on

EUROCONTROL stands firm alongside Ukraine

Close-up of the cockpit with pilot of a Typhoon EF 2000 Eurofighter jet aircraft in flight

Using AI to help military aircraft fly PBN approaches

EUROCONTROL Stakeholder Forum on the use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract

ARTAS V9 screen

Making ARTAS more resilient and future-proof: new upgrade improves some of the major features

EUROCONTROL Stakeholder Forum on the dual use of CNS infrastructure to support civil and military operations