Aeronautical

Introduction

Information and communications technologies (ICT) are gaining an increasingly important role for civil aviation. Although the aviation business has relied on ICT for many decades, the continuing growth in passenger numbers, short and long-haul flights, demands for advanced services and the ever-increasing pressure on available radio spectrum are all creating a need for innovation and harmonization.

Applications extend from professional services, such as air traffic control systems, to services for passengers, such as onboard communications, and ETSI is responsible for the standards for many of them. In addition, within Europe, the Single European Sky (SES) initiative has added legislative pressure to replace the traditional, highly-fragmented air traffic control structures by means of greater harmonization and an assured interoperability through standardisation. Here again, ETSI's expertise is being put to good use.

The Single European Sky

The Single European Sky (SES) is an initiative launched by the European Commission to reform the architecture of European air traffic control to meet future capacity and safety needs, organizing airspace and air navigation at a European rather than at a local level.

In 2005, the European Commission set high-level goals for SES to be met by 2020 and beyond. It should:

  • enable a 3-fold increase in capacity which will also reduce delays both on the ground and in the air
  • improve safety by a factor of 10
  • enable a 10% reduction in the effects flight have on the environment
  • provide ATM services to the airspace users at a cost of at least 50% less

The initiative is based on a harmonized regulatory framework, in which the proposed technical regulation is based on Essential Requirements (ERs), Implementing Rules (IRs) and standards that are complementary and consistent. In addition, great emphasis is placed on interoperability.

The modernization of the European Air Traffic Management Network will be driven by the European ATM Masterplan defined by the SES Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) programme, whilst the fragmentation of the European airspace will be reduced by the so-called Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB) defined in the SES II legislative package.

Download the Aeronautical leaflet
Download the ATM VoIP Testing leaflet
Download the Single European Sky leaflet
Download the Harmonized Standards for Air Traffic Management leaflet


Our Role & Activities

ETSI works with other organizations, notably CEN, CENELEC, the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE), the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to develop standards and Community Specifications (CSs) for Air Traffic Management (ATM) equipment.

Single European Sky (SES) and the Interoperability Regulation

ETSI supports the SES initiative with the development of "Community Specifications" in response to European commission mandates.

According to the Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004 Community Specifications are:

  • European standards for systems or constituents, together with the relevant procedures, drawn up by the European Standards Organisations in cooperation with EUROCAE, on a mandate from the EC under Directive 98/34/EC
  • EUROCONTROL specifications on matters of operational coordination between air navigation service providers

Systems, procedures and constituents which meet Community Specifications are presumed to be compliant with mandatory rules (Essential Requirements of the Interoperability Regulation and Implementing Rules).

ETSI is well-placed to support this work, given its extensive experience in producing aeronautical standards since 1995 and for the European 'New Approach' to regulation and in assuring interoperability.

Being basically European standards (ENs), Community Specifications follow the same process: after approval by the responsible Technical Committee TC AERO, the draft deliverable is submitted to the National Standards Organisations (NSOs) for a "public approval process" (ENAP). Resulting national comments and the national position (vote) will then be submitted to the ETSI Secretariat. If technical comments are received, then TC AERO will revise the draft and submit it back to the NSOs for formal national voting. Following adoption and publication, the EN is notified to the EC, which, if all the conditions are fulfilled, will reference the EN as a Community Specification as a Means of Compliance giving a Presumption of Conformity for the Interoperability Regulation or its Implementating Rules in a listing in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). 

Air traffic management

Air Traffic Control (ATC) relies strongly on VHF radio communications, and ETSI has developed a series of standards that cover air-ground and air-air equipment for voice and data communications.

ETSI has already developed standards under EC SES mandates in order to support the widespread use of solutions like "Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control Systems (A-SMGCS)", "Data Link Services (DLS)" and procedures like "Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM)" in accordance with the European ATM Masterplan.

DLS is based on VDL Mode 2 Link 2000 and ETSI has produced standards for the physical and upper layers for the ground radios that use this format. Real-time air-ground and air-air data communications involving a large number of users place very stringent requirements for capacity and reliability on the supporting data link.

VDL Mode 4: a data link and a technical enabler

VDL Mode 4 is a high-capacity data link that provides a range of communications services that support numerous functions and applications in the ICAO CNS/ATM concept.

One of the VDL Mode 4 functions is ADS-B, where a surveillance element is embedded in the system design which regularly transmits the user’s position. This information is used to manage the data link, but also enables a host of communications, navigation and surveillance applications to be realized in support of co-operative air traffic management from the departure gate to the arrival gate.

VDL Mode 4 ETSI standard is available as EN 302 842 series (airborne part) and EN 301 842 series (ground part).

Aeronautical equipment and the EMC/R&TTE Directives

Aeronautical equipment is required to meet the European Commission's EMC Directive and, where appropriate, the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive before being placed on the European market.

ETSI has been developing Harmonized Standards which enable manufacturers to declare conformity with these Directives. The EMC requirements form part of the EN 301 489 series of European Standards: EN 301 489-1 covers requirements common to all radio equipment; EN 301 489-22 deals with special requirements for aeronautical VHF communications ground stations.

TR 103 065 clarifies the way RF parameters are allocated either to Harmonized Standards (covering essential requirements under the R&TTE Directive) or Community Specifications (as a means of compliance to the essential requirements of the Interoperability Regulation). Based on the outcome of this report, Harmonized Standards for aeronautical VHF and UHF communications equipment, Ground Based Augmentation Systems (GBAS) and Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) have been published.

Passenger applications

Today's airline passengers expect to be able to make use of the same sorts of communication services as they experience on the ground, although this is not always feasible for technical or regulatory reasons. Until now, with the exception of two North American service providers, the only means of providing aircraft backhaul has been through the use of satellite links. This has certain disadvantages, including limited bandwidth, cost of capacity and round-trip delays. Another possibility is a direct air-to-ground-communication which could provide coverage over land or nearby, while the satellite link would provide coverage when flying far from land. In this regard, ETSI is working with industry partners to find solutions that are intended to facilitate passenger communications in a safe and effective manner.

Telephony services onboard planes are not something new. The Terrestrial Flight Telecommunication System (TFTS), standardized by ETSI, allowed air travellers of the nineties to place calls using handsets attached to the seats. However, commercial demand for TFTS failed to sustain initial expectations, and the service has now ceased.

ETSI produced a Harmonized Standard for the GSM on board aircraft system (EN 302 480) as well as a Technical Specification (TS 102 576) specifying the methodology for showing conformance to the operational requirements for a GSM onboard aircraft system for the GSM 1800 frequency band. More information on the GSM operation onboard aircraft can be found in an ETSI White Paper. In addition ETSI is also involved in broadband Direct-Air-To-Ground Communications System (DA2GC) and a System Reference Document has been published in 2013.

Aeronautical satellite stations

ETSI has produced a European Standard EN 301 473 for Aircraft Earth Station equipment for operation in the Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Service (AMSS)/Mobile Satellite Service (MSS), and/or in the Aeronautical Mobile Satellite on Route Service (AMS(R)S)/Mobile Satellite Service (MSS).


Standards

The list of aeronautical related deliverables in draft stage is available here

The following is a list of recently published and frequently downloaded standards. Please use the ETSI Work Programme to find further related standards.

Standard No. Standard title.
EN 303 213-2 Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS); Part 2: Community Specification for application under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004 for A-SMGCS Level 2 including external interfaces
EN 303 213-1 Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS); Part 1: Community Specification for application under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004 for A-SMGCS Level 1 including external interfaces
EN 303 214 Data Link Services (DLS) System; Community Specification for application under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004; Requirements for ground constituents and system testing
TS 102 842 VHF air-ground and air-air Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for aeronautical mobile (airborne) equipment
EN 302 842-1 VHF air-ground and air-air Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for aeronautical mobile (airborne) equipment; Part 1: Physical layer
TS 101 535 VHF air-ground Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for ground-based equipment
EN 301 842-1 VHF air-ground Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for ground-based equipment; Part 1: EN for ground equipment
EN 301 842-2 VHF air-ground Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for ground-based equipment; Part 2: General description and data link layer
EN 301 842-3 VHF air-ground Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for ground-based equipment; Part 3: Additional broadcast aspects
EN 302 842-2 VHF air-ground and air-air Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for aeronautical mobile (airborne) equipment; Part 2: General description and data link layer
EN 302 842-3 VHF air-ground and air-air Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for aeronautical mobile (airborne) equipment; Part 3: Additional broadcast aspects
EN 301 842-4 VHF air-ground Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for ground-based equipment; Part 4: Point-to-point functions
EN 302 842-4 VHF air-ground and air-air Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 radio equipment; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for aeronautical mobile (airborne) equipment; Part 4: Point-to-point functions
EN 303 213-3 Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS); Part 3: Community Specification for application under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004 for a deployed cooperative sensor including its interfaces
EN 303 213-4-1 Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS); Part 4: Community Specification for application under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004 for a deployed non-cooperative sensor including its interfaces; Sub-part 1: Generic requirements for non-cooperative sensor
EN 303 213-4-2 Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS); Part 4: Community Specification for application under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004 for a deployed non-cooperative sensor including its interfaces; Sub-part 2: Specific requirements for a deployed Surface Movement Radar sensor
EN 301 841-1 VHF air-ground Digital Link (VDL) Mode 2; Technical characteristics and methods of measurement for ground-based equipment; Part 1: Physical layer and MAC sub-layer
EN 303 212 Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM); Community Specification for application under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation EC 552/2004