The European Commission has adopted a new set of rules to better manage interoperability between the systems and constituents used to provide air traffic management (ATM) and air navigation services (ANS). The new framework, comprising five regulations, will increase interoperability, make the performance of ATM ground equipment more uniform, and support the introduction of innovative technologies. Ultimately, this will lead to a more modern European ATM network.
The new rules take a single market approach, reducing fragmentation within the ATM ground equipment market, and clearly allocating responsibilities for demonstrating compliance, in particular on the detailed specifications that will be now issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). They also strengthen EASA’s role as certifying authority for both airborne and ground equipment, ensuring that both are done consistently. With digitalisation and data exchange between systems on the ground and in the air becoming more common, it now makes sense from a safety perspective to apply the same approach to both system sets.
Finally, the new conformity assessment framework consolidates existing interoperability rules, adapting them to the EASA framework. This includes, for example, rules on the equipment required on board aircraft for the use of the SES airspace, common requirements for ATM/ANS providers concerning datalink and surveillance, as well as flight planning elements within the Standardised European Rules of the Air.
The Single European Sky (SES) also needs reform in other areas to effectively govern the performance of monopoly air navigation service providers, as well as to enable network-centric operations orchestrated by the European Network Manager. This will address the air congestion that has a negative impact on the climate and environment. The ongoing negotiations between the European Parliament and Council on SES2+ address these problems.
The conformity assessment processes were based until now on Regulation (EC) No 552/2004 (‘Interoperability Regulation’) of the SES and its implementing rules. With the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 (the new EASA Basic Regulation), the Interoperability Regulation was repealed, although some elements continued to apply provisionally until September 2023. The European Parliament and Council tasked the Commission with developing, within these five years, a new set of rules to govern the interoperability of systems and constituents. The EASA Basic Regulation also mandates the development of rules as regards the certification or declaration of ATM ground equipment and for organisations involved in their design or production.
The new rules replace eight SES interoperability implementing regulations.
The new rules comprise:
- A delegated act on the rules for conformity assessment of ATM ground equipment introducing a regime with certification and declarations (Regulation (EU) 2023/1768);
- An implementing act on approval of design and production organisations concerning obligations and privileges of such organisations (Regulation (EU) 2023/1769);
- An implementing act on airspace usage requirements concerning required equipment on board the aircraft used for communication, navigation and surveillance for the use of European airspace (Regulation (EU) 2023/1770);
- An amendment to the ATM/ANS common requirements regulation (Regulation (EU) 2023/1771); and
- An amendment to the Standardised European Rules of the Air regulation (Regulation (EU) 2023/1772).
- 15 september 2023
- Generaldirektoratet för transport och rörlighet