The US Federal Aviation Administration and Eurocontrol are co-operating closely on the controller-pilot datalink communications programme. Meanwhile the Eurocontrol equivalent, known as Link 2000+, has already passed a number of milestones:

About 150 aircraft are already VDL-2 equipped and 200 more will be by the end of the year, according to Link 2000+'s operations work package leader Soren Dissing. This was achieved under an incentive programme set up because Eurocontrol estimates CPDLC will increase system capacity by more than 11% once equipage has progressed beyond 75% of the fleet.

Under the present proposed deadlines for Link 2000+, all new-build aircraft must be fitted with VDL-2 by the end of 2009 and retrofit must take place within five years.

Eurocontrol's Upper Area Control Centre at Maastricht is already equipped for operational CPDLC, the Karlsruhe ACC in Germany is preparing for it, and Paris ACC expects to begin trials about the end of the year.

Source: Flight International