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The increased integration of airspace and the harmonisation of service provision underscore the need to improve the interoperability of equipment, systems and procedures of the European Air Traffic Management Network (EATMN).

The objective of Regulation (EC) N° 552/2004, the ‘Interoperability Regulation'  is to achieve interoperability between the different systems, constituents and associated procedures of the EATMN, taking due account of the relevant international rules.

Regulatory Approach

A three-layered approach has been adopted to address interoperability:

  • A first layer of high-level essential requirements;
  • a second layer of binding Implementing Rules (IRs) for key elements of interoperability;
  • supported by a third layer of voluntary standards, denoted as Community Specifications.

The essential requirements, applicable to the EATMN system are defined in the Interoperability Regulation.

The Implementing Rules address systems and constituents. Article 8 of the framework Regulation indicates EUROCONTROL as one of the main partners for the development of Implementing Rules.

Community Specifications may be European standards for systems or constituents, drawn up by the European standardisation bodies in co-operation with EUROCAE  (the European Organisation for civil aviation equipment) or, they may be drawn up by EUROCONTROL on matters of operational co-ordination between air navigation service providers.


The Framework Regulation, Regulation (EC) N° 549/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004, gives the following definitions:

Interoperability: a set of functional, technical and operational properties required of the systems and constituents of the EATMN and of the procedures for its operation, in order to enable its safe, seamless and efficient operation. Interoperability is achieved by making the systems and constituents compliant with the essential requirements;
Constituents: tangible objects such as hardware and intangible objects such as software upon which the interoperability of the EATMN depends.

Systems: the aggregation of airborne and ground-based constituents, as well as space-based equipment that provides support for air navigation services for all phases of flight.

Conformity Assessment Verification of compliance with the applicable regulations applies to European Air Traffic Management Network (EATMN) constituents and systems. The basic requirements for the verification of compliance of constituents are specified in Article 5 "EC declaration of conformity or suitability for use of constituents" and Annex III "Constituents" of the Interoperability Regulation. The basic requirements for the verification of systems (EC verification) are specified in Article 6 & Annex 4 of the Interoperability Regulation No 552/2004.

ANSP Obligations

The Interoperability Regulation became effective on 20 April 2004. However, the essential requirements within the regulation are subject to a transitional period as defined in Article 10.

Compliance with the essential requirements and relevant IR requirements has to be demonstrated by submitting an EC Declaration of Verification and a Technical File to the NSA prior to putting systems into service.

Compliance with the essential requirements is required for all systems and constituents of the EATMN currently in operation by 20 April 2011.