NAT HLA Data Link Mandate

NAT Datalink Mandate Final Phase Begins 30JAN20

Since December 2017 aircraft operating between FL350 and FL390, throughout theICAO North Atlantic region were required to be equipped with operable FANS 1/A (CPDLC and ADS−C) avionics. To U.S. operators this means that must have been issued operational authorization via LOA/OpsSpec A056 to use this airspace.
This requirement was known as the “NAT Datalink Mandate, Phase 2B”. At the end of this month, on January 30, 2020, the requirement for operable FANS 1/A equipment will expand to FL290 upwards thru FL410 inclusive across the entire NAT region. This requirement is labeled ”NAT Datalink Mandate, Phase 2C” and is the final portion of this implementation. 
Airspace Not Included
The green shaded areas below indicate areas exempted from the NAT DLM.

  • Airspace north of 80° North
  • New York Oceanic East FIR, (Common Name “WATRS”)
  • Airspace where an ATS surveillance service is provided by means of:
    • SSR Radar
    • Multi-lateration
    • ADS-B, (IF: aircraft is equipped with ADS-B OUT)
    • VHF voice communications as depicted in State AIP

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Flights Allowed
The following flights will be permitted to flight plan to enter the NAT DLM airspace:
  • Flights equipped with and prepared to operate FANS 1/A data link systems
  • Non-equipped flights that file STS/FFR, HOSP, HUM, MEDEVAC SAR, or STATE in Item#18 of the flight plan


No "Tactical" Exemptions
Previously, any aircraft not equipped with FANS 1/A were able to request to climb or descend through the NAT DLM airspace. Such requests, were permitted on the basis of the individual ATC separation at the time of request. After 30JAN20, no such “Tactical” ATC requests will be allowed.
FANS 1/A Failure Expectations

  • PRIOR to departure, the flight should re-submit a flight plan so as to remain clear of the NAT regional DLM airspace.
  • AFTER DEPARTURE but Prior to Entry, ATC will be considered on the basis of the individual ATC separation at the time of request.
  • OPERATING WITHIN NAT DLM AIRSPACE, ATC must be immediately advised. Such flights may be re-cleared so as to avoid the airspace. ATC will consider leaving the aircraft inside NAT DLM on the basis of the individual ATC separation at the time of request. 

What Has Not Changed

  • NAT Common DLM AIC, NAT OPS Bulletin 2017−1 (Rev. 4) 9JUL19 Lots of operating background on how to use FANS 1/A in the NAT HLA Implementation of PBCS OTS NAT OPS Bulletin 2018_004 28MAR19 PBCS Track procedures and requirements are unchanged by the NAT DLM
  • Data Link Performance Improvement Options,NAT OPS Bulletin 2019_003, 9JUL19 Specific avionics and procedures recommended for FANS 1/A in the NAT HLA
  • In-Flight Contingencies in Oceanic Airspace NAT OPS Bulletin 2018_005 Rev 01, 13FEB19 General Oceanic and Weather Avoidance contingencies changes in NAT HLA and New York Oceanic West “WATRS” FIR 


  1. 1. IF: you are A056 approved and your CPDLC and ADS-C is operating normally, you are golden for NAT HLA operations.
  2. 2. IF: you are not approved or have inoperable CPDLC or ADS-C, you are left with options above FL410, below FL290 or operating on the “Blue Spruce” Routes.
  3. 3. “Blue Spruce” Routes will require at least one RNP(RNAV)-10 electronic navigation unit, a VHF radio, a HF radio and operable ADS-B OUT.