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​The number of Communications, Navigation & Surveillance (CNS) technologies is growing. It is essential that they are cost effective and conform to global implementation standards in order to benefit the aviation community.​ IATA provides guidance and recommendations on various infrastructure requirements for air navigation services.

User Requirements for Air Traffic Services (URATs) - CNS

The IATA User Requirements for Air Traffic Services (URATs) (pdf) is designed to act as a reference for airlines and ANSPs when determining airline infrastructure requirements and capabilities for air navigation services. It complements the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) while stating IATA’s positions on the various communication, navigation and surveillance technologies.

Any technology will need to fulfil these requirements prior to actual funding or implementation

  • Enable a direct and measurable operational and/or safety improvement that is required for that specific service volume and identified in collaboration with airlines operating through that specific airspace
  • Follow a proper consultation process with the airlines and airspace users and involve airlines collaboratively at the planning and deployment stages
  • Be aligned with the ICAO GANP
  • Be supported by a positive cost-benefit analysis during which the airlines were able to validate the benefits that off-set the costs
  • Follow ICAO principles for user charges

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Performance-Based Navigation (PBN)

PBN is a global set of area navigation standards, defined by ICAO, based on navigation performance and functionality required for the proposed operation. Implementation of PBN is considered a global air navigation priority aiming to enhance safety and efficiency of flight operations and air traffic management. PBN concept encompasses two types of navigation specifications:​

  • RNAV Specification – Navigation specification based on area navigation that does not include the requirement for on-board performance monitoring and alerting, e.g. RNAV 5, RNAV 2 and RNAV 1.
  • RNP Specification – Navigation specification based on area navigation that requires on-board performance monitoring and alerting, e.g. RNP 4, RNP 2 and RNP APCH.


Updates to the PBN manual Edition 5

The ICAO Performance-based Navigation (PBN) Manual (ICAO Doc 9613) provides guidance on PBN specifications. The ICAO-IATA joint webinar (July 2022) details the update of specifications in the next edition (5th Edition).

> Webinar slides (pdf)


Future Aircraft Communications - A 21st Century Approach

Identifying challenges and opportunities for aeronautical communications in the 2035 timeframe, IATA's Whitepaper on Future Aircraft Communications (pdf) opens the debate on new concepts for avionics and spectrum use.

5G has made it clear to all within the aviation and telecommunications industries that business as usual is not an option. 

With 6G now on the horizon, IATA consulted with its airlines via the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Focus Group (CNS-FG) and created an aeronautical communications vision worthy of 21st century thinking, identifying technical and commercial benefits for both the aviation and telecommunications industries. 

Type B Messaging Whitepaper

Recognizing that airlines currently pay over $1 billion per annum for Type B messaging, IATA initiated a study to determine if more modern messaging techniques might provide a viable means of reducing operating costs.

This IATA Type B Whitepaper (pdf) provides insights into current usage, and options for change.