For air traffic to continue to grow, operational improvements such as airspace resectorisation need to be carried out. The creation of new sectors and modification of existing ones to better match traffic flows in turn require the appropriate communication infrastructure.
The implementation of 8.33 kHz channel spacing above FL 195 is a response to the critical shortage of very high frequency (VHF) communication channels in the aeronautical mobile radio communication service band (118-137 MHz).
"The demand for VHF communication channels is set to continue to grow in Europe," said Peter Alty, 8.33 kHz Programme Manager. "The implementation of 8.33 kHz channel spacing above FL 195 will help to alleviate the increasing frequency congestion."
EUROCONTROL is recommending the strict enforcement of mandatory carriage in order to minimise the operational impact of handling non-8.33 kHz equipped aircraft. From an aircraft retrofit perspective, the main impact is on regional turbo-prop fleets, whose operators are preparing themselves for the changes.
The implementation of 8.33 kHz channel spacing above FL195 represents the next phase of the EUROCONTROL 8.33 kHz Expansion Programme, which began in October 1999 with the implementation of 8.33 kHz above FL245. EUROCONTROL is now working with its stakeholders to review the need for 8.33 kHz implementation below FL195, taking into account the long-term demand for VHF assignments. A decision on this is expected during 2006.
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