Sept. 20, 2023

The North Atlantic (NAT) Systems Planning Group recently announced impactful changes to oceanic crossing procedures in the region – oceanic clearances with route, altitude and speed will no longer be issued after April 9, 2024.

New lost communications contingency procedures also will soon be published.

Andreas Meyer, the International Business Aviation Council’s (IBAC’s) director, ICAO liaison, explained increases in air traffic, plus the expanded use of data communications (DataComm), led to these changes.

“These procedure changes are the result of several years of discussions among stakeholders and regulators,” said Meyer. “The current oceanic clearance procedures made sense in the past, but more modern and dynamic tools are better suited to meet the performance-based navigation and flight operations.”

Most of the time, pilots are cleared for the exact route, altitude and speed they filed, Sam Schofield, specialty and enrichment instructor at FlightSafety International, explained.

“Unless you’re getting a change to the routing, you’re essentially cleared in accordance with your flight plan,” said Schofield. “Pilots should be prepared – you won’t get a full clearance like you’re used to.”

However, Schofield said these procedures are already being used in other regions and even in the North Atlantic in some cases, with controllers simply relaying “cleared as filed.”

“For operators working worldwide, the NAT will start to sound more like the Pacific has for a long time,” said Schofield. “The change is just how we hear things and what we should expect.”

Experts encourage operators to conduct recurrent international operations training to familiarize their pilots with this change. FlightSafety International is revising its international operations courseware to highlight new procedures.

Operators may plan to attend NBAA’s International Operators Conference March 26-28 in Orlando, FL, to learn more about the latest changes regarding the international operating environment.