Eddie sez:

Regional differences from the ICAO standard can be found in ICAO Document 7030 and your Jeppesen Airway Manual. Both of the sources, however, can be out of date. See Regional Introduction for ideas about getting up-to-date information.

As countries around the world update navigation systems and procedures, it becomes increasingly important to speak with somebody who has been to the airport recently or have a contact in country with local knowledge. As we say in the military, there is no substitute for boots on the ground.

Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.

Last revision:




Figure: EUR Region, from Eddie's notes.


8.33 kHz Channel Spacing

[ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR, ¶3.2]

  • All aircraft operating above FL 195 in the European Region shall be equipped with 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable radio equipment.
  • Exemptions may be granted by States concerned for certain types of aircraft operation and for certain areas of operation. Note.— All exemptions granted by States, including the extent to which aircraft from other States can be exempted, should be specified in States' AIPs.

This region is moving from a mix of navigation requirements to the system of Performance Based Navigation outlined in ICAO Document 9613. Current navigation requirements are available on Jeppesen Airway Manual Air Traffic Control pages and Chapter 4 of each region covered by ICAO Document 7030.


[ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR;, ¶]

  • The following RNP 5 provisions shall apply to operations conducted under IFR on designated RNP 5 routes within the following FIRs: Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus and Tel Aviv.
  • Within the [FIRs specified], only RNAV-equipped aircraft having a navigation accuracy meeting RNP 5 may plan for operations under IFR on those ATS routes and within those level bands which have been specified as requiring RNP 5 in the relevant State AIP or NOTAM.
  • Aircraft operating under IFR on designated RNP 5 routes shall be equipped with, as a minimum, RNAV equipment meeting the following requirements:
    1. a system use accuracy equal to, or better than, 4.6 km (2.5 NM) for one standard deviation, with a 95 per cent containment value of ±9.26 km (±5 NM), thereby meeting the accuracy requirements for RNP 5; and
    2. an average continuity of service of 99.99 per cent of flight time.

The term "B-RNAV" was sometimes called RNP-5, before RNP meant more than just navigation accuracy. But the term lives on and you will need it or a system at least as good to fly in parts of the European part of the Middle East.

More about this: Basic Area Navigation (B-RNAV)

Precision RNAV (P-RNAV) and basic RNAV (B-RNAV)

[ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR;, ¶] The provisions in respect of en-route operations, as specified in and, shall apply to all such operations conducted under IFR on the entire ATS route network as notified by the appropriate authorities in the following flight information regions (FIRs)/upper flight information regions (UIRs): Amsterdam, Ankara, Athinai, Barcelona, Berlin, Bodo, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Bremen, Brest, Brindisi, Bruxelles, Bucuresti, Budapest, Canarias (AFI area of applicability), Casablanca, Chisinau, Düsseldorf, France, Frankfurt, Hannover, Istanbul, Kharkiv, Kobenhavn, Kyiv, Lisboa, Ljubljana, London, L'viv, Madrid, Malta, Marseille, Milano, München, Nicosia, Odessa, Oslo, Paris, Praha, Reims, Rhein, Riga, Roma, Rovaniemi, Scottish, Shannon, Simferopol, Skopje, Sofia, Stavanger, Sweden, Switzerland, Tallinn, Tampere, Tbilisi, Tirana, Trondheim, Tunis (FL 245 and above), Varna, Vilnius, Warszawa, Wien, Yerevan, Zagreb. The provisions in respect of precision area navigation (P-RNAV) shall be applied whenever RNAV terminal control area (TMA) procedures, excluding the final and missed approach segments, are used. Note.— The carriage of P-RNAV equipment has not yet been mandated in the EUR Region.

While they say P-RNAV isn't mandated yet, it gets complicated . . . Except as detailed in and, only RNAV-equipped aircraft having a lateral track-keeping accuracy of ±1 NM (2 SD), together with an ability to determine horizontal position to an accuracy sufficient to support the track-keeping requirement and having appropriate functionality and operational approval, may operate under IFR on the RNAV terminal area procedures. Such RNAV equipment is designated hereafter as P-RNAV.

So you must have P-RNAV to operate IFR on RNAV terminal area procedures. Only aircraft approved for B-RNAV operations may plan for operations under IFR on the ATS routes of the FIRs/UIRs identified in Aircraft not equipped with RNAV but having a navigation accuracy meeting RNP 5 will be restricted to operations on ATS routes which States may designate within their lower airspace in accordance with Until such time as VOR facilities cease to be available, the carriage of a single RNAV system not meeting an average continuity of service of 99.99 per cent of flight time may be approved for B-RNAV operations if the aircraft is also carrying VOR and distance-measuring equipment (DME) equipment.

More about:

WGS-84 Compliance

As of 3 Jan 2014 every country in the Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, Europe is listed as WGS-84 compliant, The Jeppesen WGS-84 website, http://www.jeppesen.com/company/publications/wgs-84.jsp, however, lists Greece as only partially compliant. (The web site has been more accurate than the Airway Manual.)

More about this: World Geodetic System 84 (WGS-84).


[ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR;, ¶4.2.1] RVSM shall be applicable in that volume of airspace between FL 290 and FL 410 inclusive in the following FIRs/UIRs: Amsterdam, Ankara, Baku, Barcelona, Beograd, Berlin, Bodo, Bratislava, Brindisi, Bruxelles, Bucuresti, Budapest, Casablanca, Chisinau, France, Hannover, Hellas, Istanbul, Kaliningrad, Kharkiv, Kobenhavn, Kyiv, Lisboa, Ljubljana, London, L'viv, Madrid, Malta, Milano, Minsk, Nicosia, Odesa, Oslo, Praha, Rhein, Riga, Roma, Rostov, Rovaniemi, Sarajevo, Scottish, Shannon, Simferopol, Skopje, Sofia, Stavanger, Sweden, Switzerland, Tallinn, Tampere, Tbilisi, Tirana, Trondheim, Tunis, Varna, Vilnius, Warszawa, Wien, Yerevan, Zagreb.

RVSM applies to nearly all of Europe.

More about this: Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM).

Altimeter Procedures

It appears all of Europe has gone QNH.

Transition Layer

Transition Altitude / Layer / Level procedures are nonstandard in several locations. For one example of many:

  • [Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, Europe, Macedonia] For all aircraft operation within Macedonia, FIR transition altitude is established at 11000ft (3350m).

More about this: Transition Altitude / Layer / Level.

Air Traffic Flow Management ("Eurocontrol")

Air Traffic Flow Management is officially "ATFM" but more often called "Eurocontrol" who are the responsible Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU). They basically handle all flight plans in most of Europe. A good handler can make this transparent to you, but with or without a handler speaking the Eurocontrol language will make life easier.

[ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR;, ¶8.2.1] All IFR flights, including the IFR portions of mixed IFR/VFR flights, regardless of status, are taken into account when measuring demand against ATC capacity. Whenever it becomes necessary to manage this demand, ATFM may be used and departure slots issued by means of calculated take-off times.

Departure Slot Monitoring

[ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR;, ¶8.4.1] ATC is responsible for departure slot monitoring at departure aerodromes. The exact procedures to be followed will depend on the way that ATS is organized at each aerodrome. There are, however, three requirements:

  • States shall ensure that an ATFM slot, if applicable, be included as part of the ATC clearance. ATC shall take account of an applicable slot or flight suspension when a clearance is issued.
  • ATC units responsible for departure slot monitoring shall be provided with the necessary information concerning the restrictions in force and slots allocated.
  • Aircraft operators shall inform themselves of and adhere to:
    • general ATFM procedures including flight plan filing, strategic ATFM measures and message exchange requirements; and
    • current ATFM measures (e.g. specific measures applicable on the day in question such as ATFM slot or flight suspension).

A summary of the system:

  • Slots are used primarily to ease en route congestion, they are rarely based on airport congestion.
  • All decisions are made by the Eurocontrol CFMU in Brussels.
  • The system is fully automated and can appear inflexible. A good handler well versed in slot procedures can make the difference between getting a takeoff time close to desired and hours of delays.
  • Your flight plan should be filed at least three hours in advance. At some airports, this must be done by a local entity. (They may just take the flight plan entered by your flight planning service and re-enter the data. This is an opportunity for mistakes, so you should always check what was filed versus what is in your FMS.) The flight plan goes to the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing Unit (IFPU), where are three possible results:
    1. "ACK" — the IFPU acknowledges your flight plan and will enter it into the system.
    2. "MAN" — the IFPU made minor manual changes to your flight plan and entered it into the system.
    3. "REJ" — the IFPU rejected your flight plan, you need to resubmit.
  • The IFPU sends your flight plan to the CFMU in Brussels for slot allocation.
  • Two hours prior to your Estimated Off Block Time (EOBT) the CFMU issues your Slot Allocation Message (SAM) which includes a Calculated Takeoff Time (CTOT). The tolerance is CTOT - 5 minutes early to CTOT + 15 minutes late. This pad is for the tower's use, not yours.
  • The airport should give you an Expect Start Engines Time, based on your CTOT minus taxi and engine start timing.
  • If you need to delay:
    1. Have your handler notify the CFMU to negotiate for a new slot time. If no SAM has been issued, the handler need only send a delay message and you might be in good shape if there is no flow control for your new requested time or if there is a gap in the system.
    2. If your delay occurred after a SAM was issued or puts you into a flow control period, they might have a gap in the system for you or may required you to start the entire slot procedure over.
  • If you need to go early:
    1. Your handler can send a "Ready" message and hope the CFMU can find you an early slot. (If they give you one and you aren't ready, expect to go to the back of the priority list.
    2. Your handler can cancel your current slot and apply for a new one. This sometimes works best, but if the system is busy you could end up with a worse slot than what you started with. (An experienced handler will be invaluable in this situation.)
  • Always handle these slot times with care. The CFMU is said to track operators and have been known to penalize those who have a habit of missing slots or delay too frequently.
  • The airlines submit blocks of scheduled flights that get first crack at all possible slot times. You can file up to 5 days early to get the best of what is left over.

ICAO Differences

Each country departs in some ways with the ICAO standard and common US practices. Pilots should always refer to the Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures pages for each country on their itineraries for differences with ICAO Standards, Recommended Practices and Procedures. More about this: US versus ICAO.

The following are a sampling of some of the differences, there are many more. You should check the Jeppesen Airway Manual State pages for every country you takeoff, overfly, or land.

Approach Ban

About half the countries in the Europe region adhere to ICAO Approach Ban procedures, prohibiting takeoff, continuing en route, starting an approach, or continuing an approach if the destination weather is below minimums. The remaining half either have an exception to the regulation or modify the rule. You need to know the rule for your destination before takeoff.

More about: Approach Ban.

Conditional Clearance

You can be cleared onto a runway with an aircraft of final, with a conditional clearance. For example, "Behind the landing Air Bus, line up and wait." This is not an exception to ICAO rules, it is a part of ICAO Doc 4444 but I've only seen it in Europe.

More about this: Conditional Clearance.

Lost Communications

European lost communications standards tend to be ICAO Doc 4444 compliant. That should alert all U.S. pilots that they are different from what is used in the United States.

More about this: Lost Communications.

Missed Approach Procedures While Circling to Land

Some countries have unique missed approach while circling to land procedures, most notably at Amsterdam, Netherlands. At Schipol (EHAM), for example:

  • [Jeppesen Airway Manual, Schipol, EHAM, 10-1P7, 24 Dec 10, ¶] Start climbing and complete the turn to the intended landing RWY. Intercept the RWY track while climbing to 3000'. After passing 2000' start the shorted climbing turn to SPL VOR so as to cross SPL VOR at 3000' and hold or execute the instrument approach procedure again.

Multiple Line-ups on the Same Runway

[ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR;, ¶] Line-up instructions may be issued to more than one aircraft at different points on the same runway, taking into account that intersection take-off criteria shall be complied with, provided that:

  1. minimum visibility is established by the appropriate authority. Those minima shall permit the controller and the pilot to continuously observe the position of the relevant aircraft on the manoeuvring area by visual reference;
  2. local considerations, such as the airport layout, available radar equipment and local weather phenomena, are defined. The effect of jet blast/prop wash shall be taken into consideration;
  3. air traffic service for aircraft involved in multiple line-ups on the same runway is provided on the same radio frequency;
  4. pilots are advised of the position of any essential traffic on the same runway;
  5. the slope of the runway does not render preceding aircraft in the departure sequence invisible to succeeding aircraft on the same runway;
  6. pilot read-back of line-up instructions is required and contains the runway designator, the name of the intersection (if applicable) and the number in the departure sequence; and
  7. wake turbulence separation is applied.

Oceanic Clearance

There are unique procedures at many airports which are close to oceanic areas, requiring an oceanic clearance prior to departure. One example:

  • [Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, Europe, Ireland, 16 Aug 2013] NAT flights departing Irish aerodromes excluding Dublin, Weston and Casement (Baldonnel) airports, planned to enter NAT airspace between GOMUP and BEDRA (inclusive) should request Oceanic Clearance from Shanwick Oceanic via ORCA Datalink prior to departure. Shannon ACC will on request obtain Oceanic Clearance from Shanwick Oceanic and pass the clearance to the flight prior to departure.

Speed Restrictions

Several countries have unique arrival speed restrictions based on altitudes, geographic proximity to the airport, or named waypoints. One example of many:

  • [Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, Europe, Germany, 27 Sep 2013] Arriving aircraft leave the initial approach fix at 210KT IAS ± 10KT, maintain until 12NM from touchdown (unless higher IAS is required for control purposes). Reduce speed to 160KT ± 10KT using an intermediate flap setting with landing gear retracted. Intercept glide path at not lower than 3000ft above touchdown elevation.

ICAO Doc 7030 - Regional Supplementary Procedures, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2 2008

ICAO Doc 9613 - Performance Based Navigation (PBN) Manual, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2008

Jeppesen Airway Manual