Flight Operations Group

Data Communications (DataComm)

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Data Communications improves aviation safety by reducing errors common in voice communications. It increases airport efficiencies by providing departure clearances at busy hub airports, and it makes airspace safer and flight more efficient through capabilities such as trajectory-based operations, continuous descent approaches and dynamic weather reroutes.

Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) is an acceptable method of delivering and accepting an ATC clearance in accordance with part 91, § 91.123. With data link communication technology, both digital and voice communication are available to ATC and the pilot. Depending on the operation, data link communication may be the most suitable method of communication as deemed necessary for ATC and pilot purposes.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) notes that there is presently no requirement in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) to have data link communications when operating in the National Airspace System (NAS). Operators that choose to operate in a reduced separation standard in oceanic or overseas areas that requires the use of a data link system (in addition to the required voice communication system) must obtain FAA design approval and a revision to their 14 CFR part 121, 125, 125M, or 135 operation specifications (OpSpecs), part 91 subpart K (part 91K) management specifications (MSpecs) as applicable.

Part 91 operators do not require operational authorization for the use of data link in the United States. For data link operations in oceanic and remote continental airspace and/or foreign countries requiring specific data link approval, part 91 operators may apply to their responsible Flight Standards office for a letter of authorization (LOA). Pilots using “J” codes for U.S. domestic data link en route require a data link authorization prior to entering oceanic and remote continental airspace. Part 91 operators filing J codes for U.S. domestic data link services must have a data link authorization to file J5–J7 in oceanic and remote continental airspace (see Appendix D, Flight Planning).

DataComm guidance materials
Type of Operation Guidance Materials Approval Mechanism Additional Information
Data Comm

AC 90-117

AC 91-70B

AC 20-140C


Operations Approval Portal System (OAPS)

NAT Resource Guide

Pacific Resource Guide

CPDLC-DCL Site Implementation (PDF)

NAS Data Comm Guide (PDF)

Performance-based Communication and Surveillance (PBCS) Monitoring

DCNS Alternative Media Compliance (PDF)

Data Link Communication Application Guide (PDF)

Single European Sky Initiative and Data Link Services (PDF)

Data Link Problem Reporting and Charter Enrollment (PDF)

Domestic Notice on U.S. Enroute Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) Avionics Trial

FAA Domestic Data Communications (DATA COMM) User Information

FANS-CRA Charter Stakeholders

NextGen Advisory Committee

Operations Approval Portal System (OAPS)

Last updated: Thursday, October 26, 2023