Regulation 552/2004 - Interoperability of the European ATM Network

Regulation 552/2004 - Interoperability of the European ATM Network

Regulation (EC) No 552/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 on the interoperability of the European Air Traffic Management network - text published in the Official Journal of the European Union

Note: This Regulation was repealed with effect from 11 September 2018. However, certain articles and annexes continue to apply until the date of application of the relevant delegated acts covering the subject matter of the relevant provisions of this Regulation, and in any case not later than 12 September 2023


The aim of the Interoperability regulation is two-fold:

  • To achieve interoperability between the different systems, constituents and associated procedures in the European ATM network by establishing a harmonised system for certification of components and systems;
  • To ensure the introduction of new agreed and validated concepts of operations and technology in air traffic management.


The Interoperability regulation forms part of the first package of legislation on air traffic management designed to create a Single European Sky (SES). This objective will make for improved safety, optimum use of European airspace, reduced air traffic delays and sustainable air transport growth.

The first Single Sky legilative package includes another three regulations laying down the framework for the creation of the single European sky (The Framework regulation), the provision of air navigation services (The Service provision regulation) and the organisation and use of the airspace (The Airspace regulation).

Key Terms Used in the Act

Interoperability. Functional, technical and operational properties which the systems and constituents of the European air traffic management network must have and the procedures for operation in order to ensure safe, efficient and seamless operation in the network.

Seamless operation. Operation of the European air traffic management network in such a way that, for users, it acts as a single entity.

Constituents. Tangible items, such as equipment, and intangible items, such as the software on which the interoperability of the European air traffic management network depends.

System. Ground and airborne constituents and the space equipment to support air navigation services during all phases of flight.


Essential Requirements

The European air traffic management (ATM) network, its systems and their constituents must meet essential requirements. These are of two kinds:

  • General requirements on: seamless operation, support for new concepts of operation, safety, civil/military coordination, environmental constraints, principles governing the logical architecture of systems and principles governing the construction of systems;
  • Specific requirements on: systems and procedures for airspace management, systems and procedures for air traffic flow management, systems and procedures for air traffic services, communications systems and procedures for ground-to-ground, air-to-ground and air-to-air communications, navigation procedures, surveillance systems and procedures, systems and procedures for aeronautical information services and for the use of meteorological information.

Implementing Rules for Interoperability

The implementing rules for interoperability must in particular:

  • Determine any specific requirements, in particular in terms of safety;
  • Describe, where appropriate, any specific requirements, in particular regarding the coordinated introduction of new concepts of operation;
  • Describe the specific conformity assessment procedures involving notified bodies to be used to assess the conformity or suitability for use of constituents, as well as for the verification of systems;
  • Specify the conditions of implementation including, where appropriate, the date by which all relevant stakeholders are required to comply with them.

Community Specifications

These specification may be:

  • European standards for systems or constituents, together with the relevant procedures, drawn up by the European standardisation bodies; or
  • Specifications drawn up by EUROCONTROL on matters of operational coordination between air navigation service providers.

EC Declaration of Conformity or Suitability for Use of Components

Constituents must be accompanied by an EU declaration of conformity or suitability for use. Before a system is put into service, the relevant air navigation service provider must establish an EC declaration of verification, confirming compliance, and must submit it to the National Supervisory Authority together with a technical file.


Where the National Supervisory Authority ascertains that a constituent or a system accompanied by an EC declaration of conformity/verification does not comply with the essential requirements for interoperability, it must restrict the application of the constituent or prohibit its use. The EU Member State concerned must immediately inform the European Commission of any such measures, indicating the reasons for it.

Where the European Commission establishes that the measures taken by the NSA are not justified, it will request the Member State concerned to ensure that they are withdrawn without delay.

Transitional Arrangements

Starting from 20 October 2005, the essential requirements will apply to the putting into service of systems and constituents of the European ATM network.

Compliance with the essential requirements will be required for all systems and constituents of the European ATM network currently in operation by 20 April 2011.

SES II Amendment to the Regulation

In order to ensure the progressive implementation of the ATM Master Plan and to avoid unnecessary administrative burden and overlapping conformity and verification procedures for ATM systems, the Interoperability regulation was amended by Regulation (EC) No 1070/2009 of 14 November 2009.

A number of changes have been introduced, some of which concern:

  • New article 6a - “Alternative verification of compliance”: Certificates issued in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 establishing the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), as amended by Regulation 1108/2009 extending EASA remit to airports and ATM, should be accepted as alternative conformity or verification means, where they apply to constituents or systems.
  • Annex II: Requirements are introduced to a number of paragraphs in order to ensure that surveillance, communication and flight data processing systems are able to accommodate the progressive implementation of advanced, agreed and validated concepts of operation for all phases of flight, in particular as envisaged in the ATM Master Plan.

Regulation (EC) No 552/2004 on the interoperability of the European Air Traffic Management network - consolidated text

Further Reading

European Commission


Related Implementing Rules

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