Jan. 8, 2015

NBAA’s advocacy efforts in 2014 led to a path for greater operational flexibility regarding Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) avionics equipage in the Asia-Pacific Region, when in late December the regional International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) office in Bangkok, Thailand adopted new guidance for ADS-B implementation in the region.

The new guidance removes a previous mandate requiring ADS-B out operational approval issued by the aircraft’s state of registry. In the guidance, ICAO acknowledged that some states have no or insufficient operational approval processes, and the operational approval itself does not contribute to safe operations.

“NBAA and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) worked directly with local and regional aviation safety authorities and we are pleased with ICAO’s support on this matter,” said Doug Carr, NBAA’s vice president of regulatory and international affairs. “ICAO’s letter essentially allows states that have enacted international airspace access requirements for their flight information regions (FIRs) that include ADS-B operational approvals to eliminate the need for operational approval of ADS-B out. This change does not alter the requirements for certification and airworthiness approval for ADS-B installed on affected aircraft.”

Prior to this ICAO letter, many aircraft with ADS-B installed, but no operational approval, were restricted from airspace above FL 290, resulting in higher fuel burn, potentially exposing the aircraft to more significant weather and adding to already congested airspace. The airspace impacted includes the FIRs controlled by Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore.

“It’s important to remember this guidance applies to international airspace identified by FIRs and not just domestic sovereign airspace,” said Carr. “For example, Indonesia recently published plans to mandate ADS-B operational approval this coming June for the FIRs controlled by Indonesia, which are substantially larger than the FIRs for Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore combined. This new ICAO letter will allow Indonesia and other states to relax their ADS-B mandates.”

NBAA will be interacting with state and regional safety aviation authorities in the coming weeks to guide implementation of the new letter and report relevant information to Members, Carr said. It is important to note that aircraft transmitting misleading or non-compliant ADS-B information could be black listed from ADS-B airspace, according to the guidance letter.

View the CTA decision.