International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

EGGX Shanwick FIR 2017 Operational Changes – Oceanic

Because Shanwick is the only true Oceanic FIR in the NAT region, we’ll use this page for NAT changes, including CZQX/Gander, BIRD/Iceland, ENOB/Bodo, LPPO/Santa Maria, and KZWY/New York Oceanic East.

Coming up soon …

  • Dec 7, 2017: Datalink Mandate expands All NAT Region airspace will now require Datalink between FL350-FL390. There are exceptions, namely: North of 80N, Surveillance airspace (Radar and ADS-B, and there’s a map), New York Oceanic, and Tango Routes.
  • Jan 4, 2018: RLAT Next Phase. The Half-Tracks will be expanded from the three that now run each day, first by one additional track, to a max of four RLAT tracks – between FL350-FL390.  This is different to the initial plan foreseen, which was that all tracks would be RLAT at these levels. Further expansion will depend on demand. Jan 4 is the earliest day that this might happen, but because they will be decided tactically, it’ll be the first busy day after Jan 4.
  • March 29, 2018: RCP RSP required on the NAT Tracks between FL350-390.


The NAT used to be simple. Fill your flask, fire up the HF, align the INS and away you went.

Now, it’s a little more complicated. Basic Instruments are not enough. Use this quick and dirty guide from FSB to figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have. Valid December 7, 2017.

Free for OpsGroup, otherwise email us at if you’d love a copy but aren’t a group member. Do tell us why!


Feb 15th, 2017 In the first six weeks of 2017 there have been some important changes on the NAT/North Atlantic. These are published in the latest edition of NAT Doc 007, January 2017.

  • SLOP – Offsetting is now mandatory. Choose 0, 1, or 2nm right of track. We think 1 or 2 is best. Consider the recent A380 story.
  • TCAS 7.1: From January 1st, 2017, TCAS 7.1 is required throughout the entire NAT region.
  • Cruising Level: Effective 2017, you no longer need to file an ICAO standard cruising level in NAT airspace.
  • Gross Nav Error:  is now defined as greater than 10nm (used to be 25nm)
  • Contingency Procedure: Published January 2017, a new turn-back (180) procedure is introduced – turn back to parallel previous track by 15nm.
  • Datalink Mandate Exemptions: Announced January 2017, new exemptions for Phase 2B of the Datalink mandate, which will start on December 7, 2017 (FL350-390). Exempt: Radar airspace, Tango Routes, airspace north of 80N, and New York OCA.


  • Confirm Assigned Route Introduced August 2016, you will see this message when you enter NAT airspace with datalink, and you should reply with the planned route in NAT airspace. Designed to catch errors.
  • NAT HLA The airspace formerly known as MNPS. Changed February 2016. NAT HLA = NAT High Level Airspace. Now includes Bodo Oceanic, and aircraft must be RNP 4 or RNP10. Previous MNPS approvals good through 2020.


  • RLAT Started December 2015, spacing on the NAT Tracks reduced to “Half Track” (30nm) for 3 core tracks. RLAT=Reduced Lateral Separation Minima. Next phase (ie. all NAT Tracks 350-390) now planned for December 2017.
  • SLOP Offsetting right of track by 1nm or 2nm became Mandatory.


Feb 15th, 2017: FSB published the full NAT Crossing Guide “My first North Atlantic Flight is tomorrow“.

– What’s different about the NAT, changes in 2017, 2016, 2015, NAT Quick Map
– Routine Flight Example #1 – Brussels to JFK (up at 5.45am)
– Non Routine-Flights: No RVSM, No RNP4, No HF, 1 LRNS, No HLA, No ETOPS, No TCAS, No Datalink – what you can do and where you can go
Take a look.



  1. I cannot find a source reference for the “Contingency Procedure: Published January 2017, a new turn-back (180) procedure is introduced – turn back to parallel previous track by 15nm.” Are you able to provide a link? Thx

  2. Hi David, yep, the source is the new NAT Doc 007 –

    Page 17: “Modifications to the Contingency Procedures, to take account of possible turn-backs when operating in RLatSM airspace, are included in Chapter 13.”

    13.3.5 Before commencing any diversion across the flow of adjacent traffic or before initiating any turn-back (180°), aircraft should, while subsequently maintaining a same direction 15 NM offset track , expedite climb above or descent below the vast majority of NAT traffic (i.e. to a level above FL410 or below FL280), and then maintain a flight level which differs from those normally used: by 1000 ft if above FL410, or by 500 ft if below FL410. However, if the pilot is unable or unwilling to carry out a major climb or descent, then any diversion or turn-back manoeuvre should be carried out at a level 500 ft different from those in use within the NAT HLA, until a new ATC clearance is obtained.

  3. Do you have a link to the V.2017? All I can find is V.2016-1. Thanks!

  4. I have a question related to what Dave H brought up. I found the same section (13.3.5) that FSB included in their reply to Dave H. I understand that it is relevant to RLatSM because it recommends an offset of only 15nm, but it is not specific to a turn-back as it specifies “…while subsequently maintaining a same direction 15 NM offset track…”. So if I am reading it correctly, it is suggesting that you continue in the same direction, but offset 15nm, and then descend/climb as appropriate before making any turn across the OTS or making a turn-back. Am I understanding this correctly?

  5. It is also contained in the NAT OPS Bulletin 2015_003 Revision 4, effective 25 JAN 2017. Section 5.8.

  6. I read the contingency turn-back procedure as follows:
    FIRST turn at least 45 degrees, THEN maintain 10/15nm offset track (depending on whether you can/cannot maintain your assigned flight level), THEN climb or descend to get out of the way of the rest of the NAT traffic (above FL410 or below FL280), THEN maintain a flight level which differs from those normally used (by 1000ft if above FL410, or by 500ft if below FL410)… and then finally once all that’s done you can initiate your turn-back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


International Ops Bulletin
You are welcome to receive our weekly bulletin on upcoming Airport closures, Security issues, ATC restrictions, Airspace changes, and New Charts
Sent to you every Wednesday
Thanks, I'm already a reader.