Countries can set their own requirements for authorizations for ADS-B Out operations. The FAA has decided to discontinue the ADS-B Out LOA (A153) and will no longer be issuing authorizations to US operators. However, we recommend that US operators carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 to show to foreign inspectors if they are requested to provide their authorization. In essence, Notice 8900.491 is provided by the FAA to summarize why it is no longer providing authorizations for ADS-B Out. It is important to note that an LOA is still required for ADS-B In operations.
Setting the scene
Back in 2010, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) determined that operators needed to request operational approval for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out from their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). While the FAA had not required an LOA to use ADS-B Out in the United States, they had issued OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A153 or A353 to satisfy foreign CAAs that did require authorization.
However, in September 2015, ICAO Member States adopted new guidance that gradually phased out operator authorization requirements to use ADS-B Out. As stated in Notice 8900.491, “continuous monitoring of equipment performance has proven to be the most effective means of oversight.” By overseeing the data of ADS-B Out, the FAA and other CAAs can identify aircraft performance. Any aircraft with a negative safety impact on Air Traffic Control could be restricted from flying in airspace requiring ADS-B Out. Additionally, with rising demand in OpSpecs, MSpecs, and LOAs, the FAA has become understandably stretched. Removing the need for any LOA can help minimize the burden placed on both regulators and operators.
What’s changing for the ADS-B Out LOA and what should I do?
In short, the FAA has decommissioned OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOA A153 and A353, also known as the ADS-B OutLOA. By June 30, 2019, the FAA will have reached out to operators currently holding these OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOAs to inform them that it is no longer necessary. However, it’s strongly advised to carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 on the aircraft. If any foreign inspectors or officials ask about the LOA, operators can show the Notice explaining why the FAA is no longer issuing an authorization.
Different airspace will have different regulations, so be sure to research equipage requirements when planning your overseas journey anyway – especially in regard to the ADS-B Out mandate. No further action should be needed from pilots and operators as we understand it.
For operators carrying our International Operations and Procedures Manual, no immediate revisions are needed, but we will be covering this in our next International Operations and Procedures Manual Revision Service update, so keep an eye out.
We want to again emphasize that all of this applies only to ADS-B Out. ADS-B In continues to require an LOA.