The European Commission has approved a 10-year transitional period for the 8.33 kHz channel spacing conversion of frequencies used for aeronautical radio equipment in Finland. Moreover, users of radio equipment with 25 kHz channel spacing were given a 10-year extension on implementing the change.
Based on feedback from the aviation sector, Trafi requested a derogation from the implementation of the Commission Regulation (EU) No 1079/2012 involving a transitional period of 10 years for the introduction of 8.33 kHz channel spacing in frequencies used by air navigation service providers. Furthermore, Trafi requested an extension concerning the use of aeronautical radio equipment with 25 kHz channel spacing.
Aviators please note that this derogation only applies to Finland. The 8.33 kHz channel spacing may be introduced in the neighbouring countries in the beginning of 2018. It is the aviators’ duty to check this.
If a new radio device is installed or an existing device is updated during the transitional period, it must have 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability. A faulty 25 kHz device can be replaced with a similar device during the transitional period.
Under the Commission Implementation Regulation, aeronautical radio equipment operating on the VHF band (30–300 MHz) must have 8.33 kHz channel spacing i.e. bandwidth capability by 31 December 2017. On 27 July 2017, the European Commission approved the following derogation from the Commission Regulation: Under the derogation by the European Commission, the transitional period concerning the implementation of 8.33 kHz channel spacing in frequencies used by air navigation service providers in Finland is ten years. Similarly, the transitional period for 25 kHz radio equipment is ten years.
We have now received the official news that our application for funds on behalf of General Aviation in 19 EU Member States has not been successful. This confirms what we suspected, but needed to wait for the official confirmation before reacting. The reason given is that the allocation of funds to third parties was not foreseen (or is not allowed) within the rules. This is something that we are still querying pending the final announcement from the Commission which is yet to be made.
We are immensely disappointed that we have not been successful on behalf of the General Aviation community which is being financially penalised by the 8.33kHz mandate. At the same time, we think it is important to ensure that the voice of General Aviation continues to be made and that the impact of EU wide decisions which ultimately affect the viability of General Aviation activities are considered when mandates like EU Reg 1079/2012 are issued. However, we must also consider that the funds that were available were four times oversubscribed and so there will be many high quality bids which likewise have not been awarded any funding. If we had not applied, we would not have been in the running to be awarded.
We are extremely grateful for the support that you have given to this initiative by registering on the project website. We will continue to lobby for access to INEA funds and other financial instruments to support General Aviation where changes such as 8.33kHz can be considered as a European aviation infrastructure.
We must also look on this positively on this attempt in light of the fact that we have garnered the direct support of:
- 19 European States which sponsored the application to INEA;
- More than 3000 aircraft owners covering more than 5000 aircraft;
- More than 250 aerodromes.
We will now be suspending the project website and will keep you informed of any news updates that we have as we go through the appeal process and try to identify if there might be an alternative route.
It has been a pleasure to support you in this attempt.