North Atlantic high level airspace operations

The applicability of the North Atlantic High-Level Airspace (NAT HLA) approval is for operators intending to conduct operations in the NAT HLA.

NAT HLA is a re-designation of the airspace formerly known as the North Atlantic Minimum Navigational Performance Specifications Airspace (NAT MNPSA). The re-designation to NAT HLA included transferring from the older MNPS requirements, to encapsulating the current PBN and PBCS requirements. As such operational data (e.g., AFM statements, pilot training records) relating to MNPS compliance is no longer valid for NAT HLA applications.

The NAT HLA is that volume of airspace between flight level (FL) 285 and FL 420 within the oceanic control areas of Bodo Oceanic, Gander Oceanic, New York Oceanic East, Reykjavik, Santa Maria and Shanwick, excluding the Shannon and Brest Ocean Transition Areas.

It is this airspace of the North Atlantic which links Europe and North America and is the busiest oceanic airspace in the world. Aircraft separation assurance and acceptable level of safety is ensured by the required standards of horizontal and vertical navigation performance.

Earth's surface marked with the 6 oceanic control areas that link Europe and North America.  The borders of each control area is outlined in black with the name labelled in white text. The airspace covers Bodo Oceanic, Gander Oceanic, New York Oceanic East, Reykjavik, Santa Maria and Shanwick, excluding the Shannon and Brest Ocean Transition Areas.
The 6 control areas making up the NAT HLA

Approval to operate in the NAT HLA

All operators intending to operate in the NAT HLA must be approved by the State of Registry or State of the operator.

Approval for operations in North Atlantic high-level airspace (NAT HLA) application is required to be completed for the NAT HLA approval assessment.

Our approval process encompasses all aspects affecting the expected communication, navigation, and surveillance performance of the aircraft, including flight crew training, designation of appropriate standard operating procedures (SOPs) and maintenance procedures to ensure continuing airworthiness.

Depending upon the aircraft equipment, operators may be restricted to certain routes within the NAT HLA, such limitations will be detailed in approval.

To operate in the NAT HLA, specific aircraft communication, navigation and surveillance equipment must be certified for use in the NAT HLA and must continue to maintain the required performance standards. In parallel, the operator must demonstrate capability to operate and maintain airworthiness requirements for operations in the NAT HLA.

ICAO North Atlantic Operations and Airspace Manual

ICAO has published the North Atlantic Operations and Airspace Manual (NAT Doc 007) which comprehensively covers the requirements for operations in the NAT HLA.

It includes aircraft equipment requirements, flight crew training and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Last updated:
9 Dec 2021
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