Aircraft Equipage Requirements in the European Commission IRs 1207/2011, 1028/2014 and 2017/386

The European Commission published Regulations laying down requirements for the performance and the interoperability of surveillance for the single European sky.  These regulations are:

These Regulations detail the requirements for the carriage and operation of airborne surveillance equipment by both civil and state registered aircraft, and the dates by which qualifying aircraft must be equipped.

Through these binding requirements the Regulations also ensure that airborne installations are “future proof”, i.e. able to support all surveillance techniques currently used and planned for use (including ADS-B airborne surveillance applications).

The scope of these regulations is based, for the airborne aspects, on the Airspace Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 and therefore the aircraft equipage regulatory provisions are applicable to all flights conducted as IFR/GAT (irrespective of the state of registration of the aircraft or whether it is under civilian or state registration).

The Regulations include provisions for local mandates to extend the ADS-B carriage applicability, to a wider population of aircraft (e.g. to all IFR/GAT), in areas where ADS-B is used.

In summary, the avionic requirements detailed in the Regulations specify the following (noting that this is a high-level extract and that the only legally binding text is the text of the Implementing Regulations):

For Aircraft with a Civilian Registration:

Aircraft operating IFR/GAT in Europe are required to carry and operate Mode S Level 2s (i.e. with SI code capability) transponder(s) with Mode S Elementary Surveillance (ELS) capability. The applicability dates for this requirement is 7th June 2020

Aircraft operating IFR/GAT in Europe and with a maximum certified take-off mass exceeding 5 700 kg or having a maximum cruising true airspeed capability greater than 250 knots are required to carry and operate Mode S Level 2s transponder(s) with Mode S Elementary Surveillance (ELS), Enhanced Surveillance (EHS) (for fixed wing aircraft) and ADS-B 1090MHZ Extended Squitter (ES) capabilities. The applicability dates for this requirement is 7th June 2020

Note that aircraft operating under a civilian registration that do not meet specific criteria may be granted an exemption against the Mode S EHS requirements.

For State Registered Aircraft:

All State aircraft operating IFR/GAT in Europe are required to carry and operate Mode S Level 2s transponder(s) with Mode S Elementary Surveillance (ELS) capability by 7th June 2020.

All fixed wing transport-type State aircraft operating IFR/GAT in Europe and with a maximum certified take-off mass exceeding 5 700 kg or having a maximum cruising true airspeed capability greater than 250 knots are required to carry and operate Mode S Level 2s transponder(s) with Mode S Elementary Surveillance (ELS), Enhanced Surveillance (EHS) and ADS-B 1090MHz Extended Squitter (ES) capabilities by 7th June 2020.

For State aircraft that can’t be equipped in due time, the IR mandates Member States to communicate to the Commission the list of State aircraft that cannot be equipped by 1st January 2019.

Handling of non-equipped State Registered Aircraft:

In the Regulations it is stated that:

  • Air traffic service providers shall ensure that non-equipped State aircraft can be accommodated, provided that they can be safely handled within the capacity of the ATM system.
  • Member States have to publish the procedures related to the handling of non-equipped State aircraft in national AIPs.
  • On an annual basis air traffic service providers have to communicate to the Member State that has designated them their plans for the handling of non-equipped State aircraft. These plans shall take into account associated capacity limits of the ATM system.

Means of Compliance:

Certification of an aircraft against EASA ‘Certification Specification and Acceptable Means of Compliance for Airborne Communications, Navigation and Surveillance’ (CS-ACNS) is a means for an aircraft operator to demonstrate that the aircraft complies with the Commission Implementing Regulations identified above.

Requirements Pertaining to Ground-based Surveillance Systems:

It is to be noted that in addition to the requirements related to airborne surveillance systems outlined above, the Regulations also include requirements for the ground-based surveillance systems, surveillance data processing systems, and ground-to-ground communications systems used for distribution of surveillance data. 

Further Information:

Additional information and clarifications on the European Commission Implementing Regulations can be obtained via e-mail at: move-infos@ec.europa.eu