Industry coalition pushes back against Canadian ADS-B mandate

June 4, 2022  - By
Photo: MJ_Prototype/iStock Editorial/ Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: MJ_Prototype/iStock Editorial/ Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

An aviation industry coalition is voicing concern to Transport Canada about elements of a proposed mandate that will require aircraft flying in Canada to be equipped with the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), also called the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen.

ADS-B uses GNSS technology to calculate an airplane’s precise location, speed and direction. This information is transmitted twice per second, providing greater situational awareness for air traffic controllers.

The mandate in Canada requires aircraft to implement 1090ES ADS-B in two phases over the next four to five years. It takes effect for Class A and B Canadian airspace (above 12,500 feet) on Feb. 23, 2023, and Class C, D, and E airspace no earlier than 2026.

Space-Based Transceivers

The proposed mandate will also require antennas capable of communicating with both ground-based and space-based transceivers (referred to as antenna diversity). The United States uses ground-based ADS-B stations, which are confined to line-of-sight reception between the aircraft and ground receivers.

Space-based ADS-B does not have this limitation, but requires antennas on top of the aircraft to provide the required fidelity to allow for air traffic separation.

“This would constitute an equipage mandate for most U.S. operators wanting to fly to Canada, most of which have recently equipped to meet U.S. requirements,” said Jim McClay, director of airspace, air traffic and security for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). “To comply, many operators will need to install new antennas on top of their aircraft as well as possibly replace their ADS-B units. The costs of complying will be significant and would be borne only by aircraft owners.”

A recent AOPA survey of members in border states revealed that most U.S. operators are unaware of the coming mandate and almost half of respondents who regularly fly to Canada indicated they would cease flying to Canada altogether in the face of the mandate.

Lack of Installers

The industry coalition also agrees that it is highly doubtful that there are enough avionics installers to complete the needed upgrades in time to meet the mandate’s deadlines.

“Due to these concerns, AOPA is urging a delay of the Nav Canada equipage mandate until a determination can be made on the cost impact to purchase and install the required equipment and discussions on potential alternative solutions are held,” McClay said.

Other Countries

According to Nav Canada, the equipage requirements of Canada’s ADS-B mandate are in line with those of a growing number of other countries in the world. “The adoption of satellite-based surveillance technology ensures long-term alignment with the global aviation system,” the company stated. Nav Canada provides services to Canadian airspace such as air traffic control and weather advisories.

Members of the coalition include the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Garmin, the Canadian Business Aviation Association, AOPA and others.

Coalition members share concerns that the mandate being pursued by Nav Canada and Transport Canada does not appear to be going through the full consultative process, and will submit their concerns over the next several weeks.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.