Successful implementation of data air-to-ground communication in the Czech Republic

2 March 2017

At the beginning of February 2017, the CPDLC service (controller-pilot data link communications - hereinafter datalink) was implemented in the airspace of the Czech Republic. With this step, ANS CR fulfilled the relevant legislative requirements of the European Commission in this area almost a year early and expanded the space for using this service in Europe. Thus, the company took another important step to increase the safety of air traffic in Czech airspace.

The basic principle of datalink is electronic communication, consisting of text messaging between the air traffic control centers and the aircraft. The main advantages of this service are mainly:

  • significant increase in security considering the fact that no cross-talk caused by interference, incomprehensibility or phonetic form arise,
  • reduction of the amount of voice communication. Flight permissions not requiring an immediate response from the pilot may be issued by the air traffic controller via text messages,
  • the issue of flight permissions is significantly quicker (by a mouse click) compared to the current procedure and does not block operations (voice) frequency,
  • some permissions can be sent automatically, without burdening the air traffic controller,
  • a pilot can send a request for a change of flight level or for straightening the flight route without blocking the operating frequency. Such a request can be processed much faster and, at the same time, it reduces the communication burden at  air traffic control centers,
  • via datalink, a pilot can send a distress message in the case of radio failure or operating frequency occupancy.

 From the operational point of view, with introduction of this service the contiguous airspace for using datalink service in Europe has expanded (interconnection with Austria and a large part of Germany). Since the launch of this service, it has been used by approximately 70 to 90 aircraft a day (average traffic in Czech airspace is 2,500 flights a day). However, the situation will change dramatically in early 2018, when the facilities of aircraft and ground centers for using datalink will be mandatory.



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