Eurocontrol’s 41 member states have urged the agency to initiate the deployment of the European air / ground data communication service (EAGDCS), which ensures safe communication between airport controllers and pilots.

The agency’s governing body has already received approval from the European Union (EU) to implement a directive framed in this regard.

In order to implement the EAGDCS, Eurocontrol plans to partner with the air navigation service providers (ANSPs) of its member states and aircraft operators.

"The implementation of reliable air / ground data communication services is a vital enabler for the SESAR Operational Concept."

The agency also plans to develop necessary governance, financing and procurement arrangements, as well as technical specifications of EAGDCS under the guidance of Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) project.

Eurocontrol director general Frank Brenner said: “The implementation of reliable air / ground data communication services is a vital enabler for the SESAR Operational Concept. 

“It is clear that the difficulties relating to the initial deployment of Datalink in Europe were largely because it was not deployed in a coherent and fully managed way. 

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“EAGDCS takes full account of the lessons learnt in the EASA report and the SESAR Joint Undertaking studies; it represents a practical and effective way forward.”

Initially, the agency will organise a workshop in November to commence the EAGDCS project and establish the framework to deliver the EAGDCS service in compliance with the EU timeframe.

ANSPs are required to implement EAGDCS by February 2018, while air traffic service (ATS) providers and network manager must implement it by January 2025.

Eurocontrol noted that air / ground data communication services reduce the chance of miscommunication and frees up radio channels for more urgent messages between airport controllers and pilots.