May 6, 2020

The European Commission (EC) is extending its deadline for ADS-B equipage in new aircraft by six months to Dec. 7, 2020, citing the undue pressure placed on operators during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The outbreak of the pandemic of COVID-19 virus and the resulting impact on the aviation sector has led to unforeseeable obstacles for aircraft operators to pursue their activities to bring the aircraft in compliance [with the ADS-B mandate],” said the EC in its amended regulation.

“The coronavirus crisis has made it necessary to reconsider the upcoming [June 7, 2020] deadline to equip aircraft with Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast,” the commission noted, adding that “[i]n addition to the transition period introduced in the amended regulation, this change will provide aircraft operators that had planned to retrofit their aircraft between now and June, more time to do so, or to put in place an appropriate retrofit program.”

The EC’s adapted regulation also says operators of aircraft made before Dec. 7, 2020 will have until June 7, 2023, to comply with the ADS-B equipage mandate if they have established a retrofit compliance program before the new Dec. 7 deadline and the operator has not received funds from the European Union to bring the aircraft into ADS-B compliance.

“[ADS-B] surveillance technology makes it possible to periodically broadcast aircraft information, such as identity, speed or position, derived from on-board systems…thus enabling the aircraft to be tracked from the ground for surveillance purposes. This technology modernizes ground surveillance systems, with the potential to rationalize the European radars network,” the commission said.

Read the EU’s amended ADS-B regulation.

“NBAA has championed the operational benefits of ADS-B technology for many years, and has worked diligently with operators to ensure they meet compliance standards around the world,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations. “While many business aircraft already meet the European Commission’s ADS-B mandate, we applaud the EC for appreciating the unprecedented operating environment the business aviation community is currently enduring, and for the commission’s flexibility during these trying times.”

European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) Secretary-General Athar Husain Khan, agreed, adding: “On behalf of the European business aviation community, I would like to thank the European Commission for their flexibility in these difficult times. The extension will go a long way in easing some of the burdens on operators and help the business aviation sector continue to play its vital role in the fight against COVID-19 and the post-crisis European recovery.”