Air France Group Datalink upgrade to best in class avionics - Lot2


Oct. '18CompletedJun. '20

Implementing Partners

Air France
Leader: Air France


The main objective of this Implementing Project (IP) is to deploy ATN B1 capability to “Best in Class” avionics configuration on the remaining Air France Group Fleet. It concerns the upgrade of 40 Transavia B737 aircraft and the training of the remaining Air France Group pilots (B787 and A350 Air France pilots and Transavia pilots).

EC IR 29/2009 and its amendment 310/2015 lay down requirements for the introduction of datalink services in Europe. Aircraft operators shall ensure that their aircraft have the capability to operate the datalink service above FL 285 by 05 February 2020.

The Air France Group comprises Air France, HOP and Transavia France. The datalink upgrade for Air France (A320 fleet) and HOP (EJET and CRJ Fleets) aircraft and pilots training are already covered by project IP 2016_165_AF6 (funded under Action 2016-EU-TM-0117-M).

Specific objectives:
This IP specifically aims to:

  • deploy ATN (Aeronautical Telecommunication Network) B1 capability to “Best in Class” avionics configuration on the remaining Air France Group Fleet i.e. Transavia Fleet that consists of 33 B737 (expected 40 by 2020, the 7 coming will be 2nd hand aircraft). These 40 B737 aircraft are already fitted with Datalink technology.

The avionic configurations are considered as the set of airborne equipment to comply with the ATN/VDL2 (Very High Frequency Digital Link 2) performance expectations in multi-frequency (MF) environment following ELSA recommendations as identified in Annex 2 of the Datalink Services (DLS) Recovery Plan: ELSA reference IDs Avionics 01 and 02.
Testing of avionic software will be performed on vendor side. For all Transavia aircraft, the DLS avionics are already installed in on-board systems of the aircraft. The implementation project only includes the efforts for upgrading the avionics recommended by ELSA study (i.e CMU ACARS (Communication Management Unit Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) and the 3 VDR (Very High Frequency Data Radio).

The datalink upgrade will only focus on the 40 Transavia B737 aircraft types. Considering that the initially defined deadline to demonstrate compliance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 was 5 February 2015 (airborne part), Transavia B737 aircraft already fulfilled the mandate since 2014. These aircraft were already retrofitted by February 2015 in order to comply with the 29/2009 mandate.

  • to train the pilots through e-learning.

Expected Results:

  • ATN B1 capability to “Best in Class” avionics configuration are deployed on 40 Transavia B737. Thus Air France Group is fully equipped.

  • the number of pilots trained is:

  • For Air France: 200 A350 and 200 B787 (Long-Haul fleet) pilots. The training of these long-haul pilots was not included in the previous project 2016_165_AF6.

  • For Transavia: 400 (B737 fleet) pilots.

Performance Benefits:

Based on the Air France Group flight network:

  • Improve En-route capacity at European ACC. Traffic demand is steadily growing and more and more En-route ACC reach their capacity limit during the summer period. The use of datalink will allow increasing En-Route ACC capacity above FL 285 and thus alleviate ATC workload and ATC frequencies.

  • Reduce ATC delays. As a consequence, of the En-Route ACC capacity increase, En-Route ACC will reduce their ATC delays.

  • Improve safety. As a second positive result, digital communication helps to avoid confusion compared to radio messages and therefore, will improve safety.

CPDLC (Controller Pilot Datalink Communications) will contribute to a capacity gain in European airspace and thus reducing ATC delays and improving flight efficiency due to fewer restrictions. The project is relevant to and consistent with the Pilot Common Project (PCP), whose positive impact has been demonstrated through a Cost Benefit Analysis.

Read more

Countries involved

Additional Information

  • Project Type: Airline
  • CEF Call Year: 2017
  • Civil/Military: Civil
  • Multistakeholder: No
  • Main AF: AF6 - Initial trajectory information sharing
  • Sub AF: S-AF 6.1 - Initial Trajectory Information Sharing
  • Progress Percentage: 100%