DLS Newsletter – December 2016

Please click on your topic of interest below:

  1. From ELSA report to the SDM Recovery plan
  2. The Recovery Plan and CEF Transport Call 2016
  3. DLS industry engagement strategy


1. From ELSA report to the SDM Recovery plan

Performance issues

High-quality data communications capabilities in the form of the Data-link technology are essential enablers for the modernization of Air Traffic Control and for the deployment of project families identified in the SESAR Deployment Programme. However, ATN/VDL2 deployed by stakeholders to meet the requirements of the Data Link Services (DLS) Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 resulted in a system that did not provide the expected performance.

At the request of the European Commission (EC), EASA produced in June 2014 an investigation report on the technical issues preventing the correct operations of the data link services. The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) was then requested by the EC to address EASA recommendations and commissioned a VDL Mode 2 Measurement, Analysis and Simulation Campaign conducted by a consortium of ATM stakeholders known as the Enhanced Large Scale ATN (ELSA) project from February 2015 to July 2016.


The ELSA Study

To investigate the Data Link performance issues, the ELSA consortium brought together 20 companies from across the industry: Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), air/ground Communication Service Providers (CSPs), Airspace Users (AU), avionics and aircraft manufacturers, ground and airborne aviation communication system manufacturers, and companies specializing in test equipment and testing.

A very significant number of flight recording campaigns, technical stress tests, simulations, data analysis and radio-frequency modelling allowed to identify a number of key recommendations in 4 areas: ground network, avionics, standardization & compliance and ATN/VDL2 Network implementation & oversight framework. When implemented, these recommendations would solve the DL disconnections between Pilots and Controllers, so-called Provider Aborts, and would provide sufficient capacity to support ATS Data Link Services and AOC.


Recovery Plan

Following the publication of the final report of the ELSA consortium in July 2016, the EC requested the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) to develop a “DLS Implementation Strategy towards Initial Trajectory Information Sharing” with the support of all operational stakeholders and included it, after consultation, into the Deployment Programme 2016. Based on this implementation strategy, EC requested SDM to develop a “DLS Recovery Plan”.

That Plan was approved and referred to as priority in the 2016 CEF Transport calls for proposals on 13th October 2016. This plan aims to set a realistic path from today’s DLS implementation status in Europe up to Initial Trajectory Information Sharing (AF6) implementation by the deadlines set in the Pilot Common Project (1st January 2025 for ground and 1st January 2026 for the airborne segment).

On 18th October, the EC also mandated the SDM to act as Data Link Services (DLS) Implementation Project Manager. By this mandate, EC aims to implement one of the key recommendations of the ELSA Study, which was to “empower a pan-European air/ground datalink implementing function having appropriate steering responsibilities”. In addition to its roles of Deployment Manager and Coordinator of the Framework Partnership to deploy SESAR, SDM will also act as architect for DLS implementation in Europe.


2. The Recovery Plan and CEF Transport Call 2016

The DLS Recovery Plan derives from the DLS Implementation Strategy, included in the Deployment Programme (DP) 2016 – Strategic View Addendum 1 –(hereinafter Addendum 1), for the purpose of guiding implementing stakeholders’ investment on DLS for 2016 CEF Transport Calls.

The Plan has been approved by EC, it is referenced into the text of the call where DLS is a priority, and is published on the DG MOVE website. http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/sesar/deployment_en

It aims at focusing on the concrete and relevant activities required to be undertaken in the ground and airborne domains in order to achieve, in the right sequence, a synchronized DLS deployment in Europe.

Taking into consideration the high level principles concerning the DLS implementation outlined in the Addendum 1 as well as the outcomes of the ELSA study[1], the plan has been structured in the following paths:

  • Path I – Implementation of the DLS transitional solution: aims at deploying enablers compliant with ELSA’s recommendations to meet IR (EU) 2015/310, focusing in particular on the transitional solutions:
    • Model B or Model C with Multi Frequency for the ground segment;
    • “best in class” avionics for the airborne segment.

It also includes activities to prepare for target solutions for the ground segment (Model D).

  • Path II – Preparatory activities towards the target solution: aims at identifying the steps towards the envisaged target solution (Model D), through the implementation of ELSA’s recommendations in order to grant the required performance needed to achieve full AF6 implementation. Specifically, it aims at:
    • Supporting SDM in its roles of DLS implementation project manager, and architect, including service areas and architecture definition as required for Model D implementation;
    • Ensuring a framework for the operational stakeholders and communication service providers to continue to study and implement DLS provision governance.

In line with the indications of the Plan, the ANSPs, the Airspace Users and the Communication Service providers,  got together and presented 2 wide multi-stakeholders projects covering both Path I and Path II objectives:


Path I project is participated by

  • 16 ANSPs (ENAIRE, Austrocontrol, Croatia Control, DCA, DFS, DSNA, EANS, ENAV, HCAA, Hungaro Control, LFV, LGS, MATS, NAV Portugal, Oro Navigacija, PANSA)
  • 2 Communication Service Providers (Arinc, SITA)


Path II project is participated by

  • 20 ANSPs (ENAV, Austrocontrol, BULATSA, Croatia Control, DCA, DFS, DSNA, EANS, ENAIRE, Finavia, Hungaro Control, LFV, LGS, LPS SR, MATS, MUAC, NATS, NAV Portugal, Oro Navigacija, PANSA)
  • 2 Communication Service Providers (Arinc, SITA)
  • 3 Airspace Users (Lufthansa, Ryanair, TAP Portugal)
  • ESSP (European Satellite Service Provider)



3. DLS industry engagement strategy

SDM as Data Link implementation project manager

The SDM has been entrusted by the European Commission, through Regulation (EU) No 409/2013,  to ensure timely, coordinated and synchronized implementation of the Pilot Common Project and future Common Projects. By letter dated 18 October 2016, the European Commission has requested the SDM to assume the role of DLS implementation project manager.

The management of Data Link implementation is therefore a specific task where the support and consultation of operational stakeholders will be a key factor to its success.


Building confidence

In order to create awareness and build confidence on DLS implementation, the SDM will make the best use of the existing SDM bilateral and multilateral stakeholder working arrangements.

During the execution of the DLS Action Plan, the SDM will liaise with 3 categories of stakeholders, making the best use of the stakeholder engagement instruments which SDM has, the “Cooperative Arrangements” (CA) for policy stakeholders and the “Stakeholder Consultation Platform” (SCP) for the operational stakeholders:

  • The European Commission, supported by the level 1 of SESAR governance: Single Sky Committee, ICB…
  • Within the level 1 of the SESAR governance, some organizations will be directly contributing to the action plan activities (e.g. Network Manager, SJU, EASA, ESOs/EUROCAE), some being consulted and regularly informed on the outputs of action plan activities (such as manufacturing industry, NSAs, staff associations, …). These contributions, consultation and information will be framed in within the Cooperative Arrangements concluded or to be concluded.
  • Operational Stakeholders and Communication Service Providers will be either directly contributing to the action plan activities or being consulted on the outputs within dedicated and focused Steering Group activities of the Stakeholder Consultation Platform.

The SDM will also liaise with Standardisation organisations through the European ATM Standards Coordination Group (EASCG) to contribute to the identification of the necessary standardisation activities required to support DLS implementation. SDM will regularly inform the European Defence Agency ( EDA) and the National Supervisory Authorities (NSA) on the progress made with the Action Plan implementationand support them in bringing the military and NSAs inputs in the conducted activities. The SDM will also ensure appropriate coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the framework of the established cooperation between both organisations.


DLS Implementation Steering Group

Within the framework of the SCP , dedicated DLS Implementation Steering Groups will be set up to:

  • provide opinions to SDM in its role of DLS Project Manager
  • being updated on the various areas of work (project management focus).

As set out in the Terms of Reference of the SCP,  the Steering Group will be chaired by SDM. It will consist of representations of all operational stakeholders and representatives of relevant  CAs .

The SDM will be, where relevant, the recipient of the opinions expressed by the SCP, guaranteeing the involvement and support of the entire stakeholder community.


[1] VDL Mode 2 Measurement, Analysis and Simulation Campaign elaborated by the ELSA Consortium and programme partnership